15 August 2020 The Irish Film & Television Network
RTÉ Building €70 million Digital Network
16 Aug 2010 :
A new €70 million digital network is to be built by RTÉ, the move will include the introduction of a new satellite service. The introduction of the network will further mean that RTÉ and TG4 will be available on all-Island basis for first time and it will allow for broadband spectrum to be freed up.

As part of the national transition from analogue to digital television in Ireland Communications Minister Eamon Ryan recently announced the move as part of the transition from analogue to digital television in Ireland. As previously reported the analogue terrestrial television service is nearing the end of its life and will be switched off by the end of 2012.

RTÉ’s new digital service 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.

Where the introduction of commercial television digitisation is concerned, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has reiterated its displeasure that its chosen groups – namely One Vision, Boxer and Easy TV - have failed to work together in the orchestration of bringing commercial Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) to Ireland. The group has thus decided not to reactivate a commercial DTT multiplex licensing process until after the Analogue Switch Off (ASO).

RTÉ has estimated that the new national 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. The broadcaster has selected MHEG as the interactive middleware for the rollout of its national DTT service.

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.”

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