Ireland to build €70 million digital TV network including new satellite service

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Digital Television ‘green for go’ says Communications Minister Eamon Ryan

  • New €70 million digital network to be built by RTÉ, including new satellite service
  • RTÉ and TG4 will be available on all-Island basis for first time
  • Going digital will free up valuable spectrum for broadband

DUBLIN — Communications Minister Eamon Ryan today announced plans for the transition from analogue to digital television in Ireland.

The analogue terrestrial television service is nearing the end of its life and will be switched off by the end of 2012.

RTÉ will build a replacement digital service, which is expected to provide full national coverage and will also provide significant coverage throughout Northern Ireland.

The new TV service will be available on both a terrestrial network and a satellite network. RTÉ is planning on building a terrestrial network which will operate from 51 transmitter sites throughout the country providing coverage to 98% of the population. RTÉ currently operates 170 analogue sites. For the remaining 2%, RTÉ plans to develop a new satellite service. Such a public service satellite service is unique to Ireland. This provides all-Ireland coverage of RTE and TG4 for the first time.

RTÉ estimates that the new digital network will cost in the region of €70 million.

Digital TV will provide access to 7-9 TV channels, including RTE, TV3 and TG4, the national radio channels, will provide on screen programme information and will provide a new digital teletext service.

Digital technology is much more efficient than analogue technology. Going digital will free up valuable spectrum in the broadcasting bands, which can be used for mobile, broadband and other services.

Announcing the move, Minister Ryan said, “I am pleased that we are now in a position to go ahead with the provision of a new nationwide digital television network. Digital television will offer viewers more channels, more choice and higher quality television.

Going digital will also free up valuable spectrum, which can be used for broadband and mobile services. I have asked ComReg to expedite release of the 800 MHz band, which they will be consulting on shortly.

Analogue switch-off will take place at the end of 2012 and we need to be prepared. My Department will be coordinating the preparations and I will be receiving regular updates on progress.

I am glad we are in a position to move to the next generation of television transmission. I thank RTÉ for their work to date and look forward to the successful completion of this important modernisation project for Ireland.

This is good news for television viewers, for the broadcasting industry and for those looking for faster and better broadband. This will bring a huge boost to Ireland’s economic and social development by providing jobs, new services and revenue to the country.

Ireland is moving firmly into the digital age and we will all reap the benefits.”