No plans for new DTT competition

Thursday 05 August 2010 16.01
Digital Terrestrial TV - Analogue to be switched of in 2012
Digital Terrestrial TV - Analogue to be switched of in 2012

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has said it has no plans to set up a new competition for commercial digital terrestrial television in the immediate future.

The licensing process for commercial digital services ended earlier this year when the Easy TV consortium turned down talks with the BAI after two other groups had pulled out.

The BAI said it did not think it would be feasible to introduce commercial DTT until after the current analogue terrestrial television service is switched off, which is due to happen by the end of 2012.

The BAI said it had reviewed the process with the three groups, and all highlighted the effect of the current economic circumstances on the prospects for a commercial service.

The authority also said two of the groups had referred to the failure to reach agreement with RTÉ's networks division RTÉNL on transmission facilities as a factor in their failure to go ahead with the process.

The BAI said that for a future competition to be successful there would have to be legislation to enable it to intervene in negotiations between any potential provider and RTÉNL.

Last week, plans were announced for the transfer to digital television when the analogue service is switched off.

RTÉ will build the replacement service at a cost of €70m.

The public service system will provide access to seven-nine television channels, including RTÉ channels, TV3 and TG4 and the national radio channels. It will provide on-screen programme information and a new digital teletext service.