Written answers

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Broadcasting Services

5:00 am

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Question 249: To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the progress to date on the provision of digital television; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45328/10]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Minister, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; Dublin South, Green Party)
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The Broadcasting Act, 2009 requires RTÉ to develop digital terrestrial television (DTT) as a replacement for the analogue network. Earlier this year, I signed a statutory instrument (SI 85 of 2010), which requires RTÉ to have free to air DTT available to 90% of the population by the end of October 2010.

On the 29th October 2010, RTÉ launched its DTT service called Saorview on a trial basis to 90% of the population from 24 sites around the country. This service is available to the public and currently broadcasts RTÉ1, RTÉ Two, TV3, TG4, 3e, the RTÉ News Now service as well as RTÉ radio channels. The launch of the RTÉ service on an initial trial basis is essential as it provides time for the DTT network to be completed, services to be fully developed and for additional content and receivers to be made available before analogue switch off in Q4 2012. It also means that TV viewers can choose to adopt the new service at the earliest opportunity.

RTÉ has developed a new website to provide information to the public about their DTT service, www.saorview.ie. This website includes Saorview coverage and reception information. It also provides details on receivers in the market which carry the Saorview logo. This means the receivers meet the Irish digital specification and are approved for use in Ireland. The DTT service will launch nationally in mid 2011. The Deputy may also be interested to note that I have launched a public consultation on the public value of new TV services being proposed by RTÉ. If approved, RTÉ proposes to offer these as part of the Saorview channel line up in 2011. Information on this consultation is available from my Department on www.dcenr.gov.ie/Broadcasting . The closing date for responses is 10th December 2010.

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