Ireland announces Digital Television switch-on

Friday, October 29th, 2010

€500 million benefit to Ireland from modernisation of transmission

DUBLIN — Communications Minister Eamon Ryan announced today that the RTE Digital Terrestrial Television service is now available to 90% of the Irish population, The Digital Television service will launch today from 24 sites around the country on a trial basis.

Today’s announcement means that TV viewers will have 2 years to upgrade to digital in advance of switch off of the analogue terrestrial television network operated by RTÉNL. This analogue switch off will take place at the end of 2012 in Ireland. Over 1 million viewers currently use the analogue terrestrial television service in their homes.

The channels on the trial service will initially include RTÉ ONE, RTÉ Two, TV3 and TG4. More channels and radio services will be added to the channel line up as part of a national launch of the RTE operated Free-To-Air DTT service – SAORVIEW – which will take place next year. SAORVIEW will be Ireland’s first free-to-air national digital television service.

Minister Ryan said, “Digital Television will improve the television experience for the viewer, with more channels, high-definition pictures, higher-quality sound, on-screen menus and digital teletext.

For Ireland, the switch-off of the analogue signal releases valuable spectrum which can be used for wireless broadband and new mobile services. It is estimated that Ireland will benefit to the amount of €500 million over the next decade as a result of this digital dividend.

Today’s launch of the RTE digital television service, on a trial basis, is another important milestone in the advent of free-to-air digital television to Ireland. Television viewers and the country in general will benefit from this modernisation of our television service.”

In preparation for the full launch of SAORVIEW in the spring of next year, RTÉNL will prepare the technical infrastructure and achieve full coverage for the population of Ireland.