The Italian government has confirmed that it will continue state subsidies of MHP digital decoders next year, although at a lower level of 120 euro rather than the current 150 euro per box.

The continuing subsidy was announced by Communications Minister Maurizio Gasparri at the Sat Expo trade fair in Vicenza.

In order to qualify for a subsidy, digital decoders must be MHP compliant and include a smartcard reader and integrated modem.

The new level of subsidy will take effect from the end of 2004, although the overall budget remains unchanged at 100m euro per year. The reduction in the discount is attributed to the falling cost of decoders.

A similar subsidy for broadband connections will also fall from 75 to 50 euro. Italy will have around 4 million broadband connections by the end of 2004, with a target to double the number in 2005.

Milan conference
ADB, which has shipped over half a million MHP boxes in Italy over the last year, is hosting a conference on interactive digital terrestrial television in Milan. Speakers include representatives from STMicroelectronics and Osmosys, covering silicon and middleware respectively, and Italian broadcasters RAI, Mediaset and Telecom Italia.