On February 6, 1996, the Italian government enacted Law no. 52 providing, among other things, for the elimination of exclusive and special rights in satellite services in conformance with European Council Directive no. 64 of October 14, 1994. Law 52/96 provides entrepreneurs with the right to import, sell, attach to, and install ground transmission stations for connection with satellites. All exclusive rights on such services are eliminated, and all prohibitions on the offer of transmission capacity in space are removed.

As discussed in a separate entry on this data base, the Italian Antitrust Authority has noted in a discussion of previous Italian law that, "capacity in the space sector may be acquired exclusively by the present, sole provider of telecommunications services," Telecom Italia S.p.A. To correct this, the Authority suggested that management of satellite transmission capacity offered by the Intergovernmental Satellite Organizations be attributed to a Ministry or Regulatory Authority for the sector, which is essentially the solution which Law 52/96 has chosen.

Indeed, the lifting of the monopoly of the public carrier in this sector does not include deregulation, and Law 52/96 also requires that an application procedure for approval to provide satellite services be established. The approval of such applications will most likely be the duty of either the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications or the Telecommunications Authority (which is in the process of being formed and is discussed in a separate entry on this data base).

Law 52/96 sets forth broad imperatives requiring implementation. Therefore, we will not be able to know the exact limits and means of its application until the necessary, implementing legislation and regulations have been adopted.

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