Consent Given For RTÉ Digital TV Services

There are to be five, new broadcast channels in Ireland with the Irish Republic's Government announcing this month its decision in relation to new television services for its 'Free to Air' Digital Terrestrial Television network (DTT).

The new RTÉ services were revealed by the Dublin Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Carey.

He said they are in relation to the new services being proposed by RTÉ in the context of the rollout of the Public Service 'Free to Air' Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT).

RTÉ’s new digital network, Saorview, which is currently operating on a trial basis and is planned to launch nationally in May 2011, can carry more services than the current analogue TV network.

So, five new television services have been given approval with Minister Carey saying: "As a result of a thorough examination of the RTÉ proposals, which included a public consultation process on the public value of the proposals and a sectoral impact assessment, I have approved, RTÉ Two High Definition (HD) Select; RTÉ Aertel Digital; RTÉjr; RTÉ Plus (Phase 1) and RTÉ News Now.

The Minister extended his thanks to the respondents to the consultation process and to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) for their analysis of the sectoral impact on the proposals. "The responses received to the public consultation process informed my decision and it was very encouraging to see the level of interest in this statutory process with 29 respondents from the public, representative bodies and from the broadcast industry," he continued.

The Broadcasting Act 2009 requires the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to undertake a detailed review of any new services or channels proposed by either RTÉ or TG4 prior to granting consent.

The Act sets out a range of issues to be considered in analysing the public value of any proposals. It also requires the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) to carry out a sectoral impact assessment of proposed new services to assess the impact of these services on the broader broadcast and media sector.

Minister Carey added: "These additional channels will give increased choice to TV viewers throughout Ireland over all platforms including the national 'free to air' Saorview DTT network which is currently being rolled out by RTÉ."

On the Saorview DTT network, the Minister added: "The national Saorview DTT network is currently being rolled out by RTÉ and this decision will ensure that the channels are available in time for the national launch of the service in May of this year.

"The Saorview DTT network will replace the existing analogue TV network when this closes in Q4 2012 and this target date remains on track. Consideration of the issues of information and assistance for TV viewers affected by analogue switch-off is being advanced."

In November 2010, the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources launched a public consultation seeking views on the public value of the new RTÉ service proposals.

There were 29 respondents to this consultation process from a wide range of people, representative bodies and media industry groups.


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