Dáil debates

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

 

Telecommunications Services

3:00 am

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Minister, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; Dublin South, Green Party)

The Deputy is correct; we start in October and it will take a number of months to get it technically correct, have all the standards in place and make sure the set top boxes work before it is properly launched widely to the public, although it will be available from October. I am told that set top boxes and other kit is ready to go. We needed clarity on that, and it was unfortunate we could not have it as the commercial bidding process was in train. As soon as that came to an end I brought in RTE, the BAI and ComReg. I set up a working group for us to get the technical standards and other arrangements in place in order that we will have digital terrestrial television in the autumn and we will meet, with absolute certainty, our switch-off schedule which is the end of 2012. We have until then to get the Irish public ready for the switch over.

In terms of the €40 million cost, costs are incurred. There are certain advantages if there is a not a full six mix solution; I would prefer if there was one but if there is not some of the transmission costs and technical arrangements are easier with just a public service offering. Crucially, the economic benefit to the State from us switching off our analogue system is a multiple of that cost, in terms of the new transition system. There is an initial cost to RTE but in the long run there is a real benefit for the country, in terms of switching on a digital system and switching off our analogue system, and RTE is aware of that.

Comments

Mike O'Meara
Posted on 2 Jun 2010 11:34 pm (Report this comment)

Again the Minister is wrong: the standards have been in place and published for some time now and the existing tests are ongoing. I would be very surprised if the standards change so late in the day.

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