The EU Commissioner for Information, Society and Media Viviane Reding has said Ireland faces a 'once in a life time opportunity' to take advantage of the digital dividend created by the changeover from analogue to digital broadcasting.

The switchover, due to take place by 2012, will free up spectrum capacity for use by services including television, mobile telephony and fixed broadband services.

Speaking at a ComReg conference on the 'Digital Dividend', Commissioner Reding said one positive use of the service would be to bring wireless broadband to parts of the country that currently do not have access to it.

Minister Eamonn Ryan said that, thanks to a number of factors including its geographical location, Ireland has the chance to become a leader in mobile communications and wireless technologies.