RAI pumps funds into digital


LONDON -- Italian state broadcaster RAI plans to invest €33 million ($45.2 million) in broadcasting digital programming over its traditional networks, the company said Tuesday.

The announcement, made by Minister of Communications Paolo Gentiloni, said that digital broadcasting will take place beginning this year and will ease the transition to a complete digital switchover by the start of 2012.

According to a statement from the ministry, the investment is in addition to the €300 million ($411 million) already earmarked for the legally mandated digital switchover, which is scheduled to take place between 2009 and 2012. That figure includes funds for advertising, new technology, personnel training and other aspects of the move.

RAI said that the first part of the change -- the part covered by the €33 million -- will cover 70% of Italian territory and 90% of the population, including the entire northern part of the country.