Dáil Éireann - Volume 674 - 10 February, 2009
Written Answers. - Broadcasting Services.
Deputy Joanna Tuffy Deputy Joanna Tuffy
Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the implications for viewers of RTÉ in Northern Ireland in view of the fact that the digital terrestrial television technology to be used here is different from that in the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4557/09]
Deputy Eamon Ryan Deputy Eamon Ryan
Deputy Eamon Ryan: The Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 provides for the development of national Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) services in Ireland and for the closure of the national analogue TV network.
Under the new Broadcasting Bill 2008 due to be enacted shortly, RTÉ continues to have an all-island remit. Section 114 of the Bill provides that one of the principle objects of RTÉ is “to establish, maintain and operate a national television and sound broadcasting service, which shall have the character of a public service, be a free-to-air service and be made available, in so far as it is reasonably practicable, to the whole community on the island of Ireland”.
The first phase of DTT services will launch in autumn this year with coverage of about 85% of the country. The analogue network will continue to operate alongside the new digital network for a transition period until an analogue switch off date is reached. Information on the development of this network is available from RTÉ’s own website, www.rte.ie.
My Department is working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and our UK counterparts to coordinate a smooth transition from analogue to digital services in both jurisdictions.
Analogue switch off is currently planned for end 2012 in Northern Ireland, which is the target EU analogue switch-off date. I am confident that Ireland can meet that target and that RTÉ, by way of DTT technology, will continue to be available in Northern Ireland.
Dáil Éireann 674 Written Answers. Broadcasting Services.