Ireland - Consultation on DTT Multiplex Licence Conditions

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Foreword by the Chairperson

The application of digital technology to free-to-air television broadcasting will result in many benefits for the consumer including more TV services, interactivity and an overall enhanced television viewing experience.

Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT), the replacement for the current free-to-air analogue system, therefore represents a major step forward for terrestrial TV transmissions in Ireland. It will also represent a significant further manifestation of technological convergence in broadcasting, media and telecommunications.

Ensuring the full potential of DTT in this market will not only need the regulatory and technical framework that ComReg is currently consulting on here but also will require that appropriate agencies develop public awareness and understanding of the benefits it can bring.

ComReg is conscious that in order to facilitate the establishment of DTT in Ireland, the framework within which ComReg intends to licence and regulate DTT multiplex licences needs to be developed.

The relevant policy goals of ComReg include:-
“¢ ensuring efficient spectrum use by terrestrial broadcasting spectrum users;
“¢ enhancing competition between digital TV platforms whether cable/MMDS, satellite or terrestrial; and,
“¢ minimising disruption to consumers as a result of changes in transmission technologies and spectrum use.

At the end of March 2007, there were over 775,500 digital TV subscribers in the total market of circa 1.45million TV households in Ireland1. The fact that Irish consumers are increasingly giving up forms of analogue TV reception for digital alternatives is evidence of the importance of the DTT platform in Ireland.

The proposals outlined in this consultation document regarding the DTT multiplex licence conditions are intended to inform potential licensees and bidders for BCI multiplex contracts of the proposed regulatory environment and to stimulate responses from all interested parties in order to ensure that an appropriate regulatory regime will be developed.

I would encourage interested parties to participate in this consultation process so as to best inform the decisions made by ComReg in relation to the licensing of digital terrestrial television.

Mike Byrne,

Links: Consultation Paper; ComReg