87% of Irish now aware of DSO
The Irish Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte T.D. has released research which reveals that 87% of the Irish people are now aware of the digital TV switchover and 35% t are aware that the analogue TV network will be officially switched off in October 2012. These results come from the latest Millward Brown Lansdowne benchmark study on the Digital Switchover which was carried out in November.
The research reveals that awareness levels of the Digital Switchover among Irish people have increased by 10% since DCENR launched a public information and awareness campaign last October which included a new TV campaign featuring iconic broadcaster, Gay Byrne.
Source: Advanced Television
Item added: 19th December 2011
ASO completed by 24th October 2012
The Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, has announced that the official date for the completion of the switch to Digital Terrestrial television will be Wednesday the 24th October 2012.
SAORVIEW, Ireland’s new national digital TV network, will operate in parallel with the analogue network until then.
According to the minister 250,000 households across Ireland still watch terrestrial analogue television.
The Minister was joined at the launch by Ireland’s iconic broadcaster, Gay Byrne who will feature in the Department’s innovative advertising campaign for the Digital Switchover which was launched on Irish TV screens on the evening of the 14th October.
Byrne said that Gay is synonymous with the development of Irish TV over the years and is arguably the most recognisable face and voice in the country. It is important that people feel reassured that the transition to digital TV is not a complicated one and represents the next advancement in the evolution of TV in Ireland and throughout the world and Gay’s involvement will help bring people along with us”.
Item added: 17th October 2011
National Digital Switchover Info Campaign
Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte, today announced that his Department had selected a consortium led by Target McConnells to deliver a National Digital Switchover Information Campaign. The extensive nationwide campaign is designed to inform and educate TV Viewers about their digital switchover choices. The campaign will include TV, radio and print media.
The Minister said, “Television plays a central role in all our lives. It entertains, informs and indeed is a companion for many of us. As Ireland goes digital we must ensure that television viewers understand what is involved. To overcome the challenges that digital switchover brings, we must assist people with practical and helpful information to inform them what is happening and what they need to do to move to digital TV”.
For the campaign, Target McConnells are partnering with BeSpokeWithDirection, 11890 and Millward Browne Lansdowne, to provide a wide-ranging advertising and public relations campaign to communicate the key digital switchover messages over the next 18 months. The campaign will include extensive use of TV, radio and print media.
“This information campaign will be starting in a couple of weeks and will run for over one year. I will be announcing further details shortly”, concluded the Minister.
Source: Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
Item added: 3rd October 2011
BAI says RTÉ carriage model not sustainable
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has warned that the proposed cost structure for carriage envisaged by RTÉ/RTÉNL means that only the public broadcaster itself would be in a position to be carried on Ireland’s DTT platform Saorview.
In its Report and Recommendations the Authority says the current model that charges content providers on a pro-rata basis across the DTT platform rather than on an individual multiplex basis is not sustainable.
The report also suggests that the majority of commercial services, including three proposed by national broadcaster TV3, will not be ready to launch until close to analogue switch off in October 2012, bringing into question the requirement to introduce the second RTÈ multiplex in 2011.
More at: Broadband TV News
Item added: 22nd August 2011
DTT launched in Ireland
Ireland’s free-to-air Digital Terrestrial Television platform called SAORVIEW was launched by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Pat Rabbitte on the 26th May 2011.
SAORVIEW is now available to 97% of Irish households and carries eight Irish channels: RTÉ One, RTÉ Two HD, TV3, TG4, RTÉ News Now, 3e, RTÉjr and RTÉ One + 1. SAORVIEW will also carry a new enhanced digital RTÉ Aertel information service and all of RTÉ’s radio services.
“My aim is to ensure that there is a free television service available to all Irish viewers after analogue switch off in 2012. When combined with other pay or free platforms SAORVIEW will offer a wide choice of TV channels to viewers, and the choice of channels available on SAORVIEW will grow further in 2012. A precise date in 2012 for analogue switch off will be announced later this summer”, said Minister Rabbitte.
Transmissions use DVB-T and are coded using the MPEG-4, H.264, AVC standard.
Source: Saorview website
Item added: 31st May 2011
Most terrestrial TV homes expected to take free digital TV
A new report released by the Irish government shows that 16% of TV homes (around 254,000) in Ireland rely solely on terrestrial TV, 10% have access to Irish TV channels (Irish terrestrial) only and 6% also have access to UK channels (multi-terrestrial). The study was prepared to help the government plan for the analogue switch-off in Ireland. Around one third (32%) of TV homes have an outdoor aerial of some type so that many more TV viewers may use the terrestrial services on secondary TV sets in the home. It found that only around one third of Irish terrestrial TV homes were aware of analogue switch off at the time the research was undertaken, and rural areas throughout the country are most reliant on terrestrial TV with over two thirds of terrestrial TV households in rural areas. Most terrestrial households (over two thirds) have indicated that they plan to opt for a free to air service post analogue switch-off rather than a pay TV service.
Item added: 16th May 2011
Saorview information campaign begins
The public information campaign about the Saorview DTT platform was launched on St Patrick’s Day. (17th March).
The new digital service, which will provide consumers with more choice and better quality pictures and sound, will officially launch in the summer and be available to homes across the country.
Saorview will mainly broadcast TV channels from the public broadcaster RTÉ comprising of RTÉ One, RTÉ Two HD, TV3, TG4, RTÉ News Now, 3e, RTÉjr, RTÉ One + 1 and RTÉ Digital Aertel as well as 11 radio channels.
The public will be able to access information on the new service from a Local Call number and from the website www.saorview.ie.
Saorview is expected to officially launch at the end of May.
Source: Saorview website
Item added: 21st March 2011
Five more DTT services for RTÉ
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr Pat Carey has said that RTÉ’s proposal for five new DTT services has been approved.
The new services will be
RTÉ Two High Definition (HD) Select
RTÉ Aertel Digital
RTÉ Plus (Phase 1)
RTÉ News Now
The Minister’s decision and other documentation containing the submissions received are available on the Department’s website, www.dcenr.gov.ie/Broadcasting.
On the Saorview DTT network, the Minister added, “The national ‘free to air’ 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”
Item added: 28th February 2011
BAI to seek DTT content providers
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) is to seek expressions of interest from content providers interested in joining the country’s DTT platform, reports Broadband TV News.
An official announcement from BAI is expected in the next few weeks.
Public broadcaster RTÉ is expected to launch the Saorview digital network in May this year. It follows a troubled period that saw the franchise to operate commercial TV services on the DTT platform rejected by three separate parties.
Analogue switch off will take place in 2012.
Source: Broadband TV News
Item added: 21st February 2011
Minister Ryan asks public for their views on new RTÉ channels
Communications Minister Eamon Ryan today announced that he is seeking the views of the public on a range of new channels proposed by RTÉ for transmission on digital television (called Saorview). Members of the public will have until the 10th of December 2010 to submit their views.
The switch-on of digital television was announced by the Minister on the 29th of October and will include RTÉ One, RTÉ2, TV3, and TG4. RTÉ has submitted a proposal for additional channels on this free-to-air service. They are, RTÉ Two HD Select, RTÉ News Now, RTÉjr (channel aimed at preschool children), RTÉ Plus (repeat of peaktime RTÉ One content) and RTÉ Aertel Digital (enhanced digital teletext service)
Announcing the consultation the Minister said, “The analogue signal will be switched off by the end of 2012. Going digital has created the opportunity for RTÉ to expand its public service offering by introducing new television channels to the digital service in 2011. Today (15th November) we offer the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed new channels. We welcome all views.”
This process runs from the 15th November 2010 and closes on 10th December 2010.
The consultation document is available from the website, http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/Broadcasting/
For more information on SAORVIEW, see www.saorview.ie
Item added: 22nd November 2010
Ireland starts trial DTT service
Communications Minister Eamon Ryan announced on Friday the 29th October that the RTE Digital Terrestrial Television service had launched and was now available to 90% of the Irish population.
The DTT service is being broadcast from 24 sites around the country on a trial basis.
The announcement means that TV viewers will have 2 years to upgrade to digital in advance of the switch off of the analogue terrestrial television network operated by RTÉNL. This analogue switch off will take place at the end of 2012 in Ireland.
The channels on the trial service will initially include RTÉ ONE, RTÉ Two, TV3 and TG4. More channels and radio services will be added to the channel line up as part of a national launch of the RTE operated Free-To-Air DTT service – SAORVIEW – which will take place next year. SAORVIEW will be Ireland’s first free-to-air national digital television service.
Minister Ryan said, “Digital Television will improve the television experience for the viewer, with more channels, high-definition pictures, higher-quality sound, on-screen menus and digital teletext.
In preparation for the full launch of SAORVIEW in the spring of next year, RTÉNL will prepare the technical infrastructure and achieve full coverage for the population of Ireland.
For further information on SAORVIEW go to: www.rte.ie/saorview
Source: Department of Communication Energy and Natural Resources
Item added: 1st November 2010
Commercial DTT not until 2013
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has said it does not see a possibility for the launch of a commercial digital terrestrial television service in the Republic until after analogue switch off, reports Broadband TV News.
In a statement the BAI reiterated its disappointment that none of the three applicants to the 2008 licensing process had been able to bring matters to a satisfactory conclusion.
The Authority and its predecessors have been battered by the failure of successive commercial operations, including consortia led by Teracom (Boxer) and telco Eircom, to take up licence offers.
Public broadcaster RTE is now pressing ahead with plans for a two-multiplex system, covering 98% of the country, and expected to be on-air this autumn.
A new competition for a commercial DTT licence will likely take place during 2012 with the intention of broadcasts beginning in 2013.
Source: Broadband TV News
Item added: 9th August 2010
RTÉ transmission network may face sale
Ireland’s transmitter network could be put up for auction, following a report by the State assets review group.
Communications minister Eamon Ryan said he was opposed to the privatisation of the country’s state-owned electricity, gas and postal services, but it would be right to look at the future of RTE’s network division.
Ryan made his comments as he outlined plans for Ireland’s digital switchover, which he said was on course to complete by the end of 2012. He expressed confidence that RTE had sufficient finance to meet the €70 million cost of upgrading the network of 51 transmitters. However, he expressed disappointment that there would be no commercial services following successive failures in bringing in a partner from the private sector.
It is anticipated that 98% of the country will be served by terrestrial transmitters, 97.2% of the population being covered by the second quarter of 2011.
RTE is planning a ‘Freesat-style’ service to cover outlying areas.
Source: Broadband TV News
Item added: 2nd August 2010
New DTT plans from RTÉ
Ireland’s public broadcaster RTÉ has released a plan for a two multiplex DTT system which will include high definition channels and a Freesat-style service to reach the 2% outside the reach of terrestrial coverage.
The new plan takes in to account the failure to find an operator for the five multiplex commercial services previously proposed. These services were to run alongside a single multiplex assigned to RTÉ.
The first multiplex will broadcast using MPEG-4 coded DVB-T starting by Q3 2011 and will carry RTÉ 1, RTÉ 2, TV3 and sister channel 3e, TG4, and RTÉ News. A seventh channel would timeslice RTÉ Children, Euronews and RTÉ+1.
The second multiplex planned to start after ASO in 2012 is likely to carry high definition versions of the main channels and possibly an Irish film channel and a parliamentary channel.
Both DTT multiplexes will receivable by 98% of the population.
Source: Broadband TV News
Item added: 17th July 2010
RTÉ Appoints Director of Digital Switchover (DSO)
RTÉ has appointed Mary Curtis to the new senior executive position of Director of Digital Switchover, with responsibility for an effective transition by audiences in the coming two years to digital television using the new Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) system.
The post consolidates all the existing DTT reporting lines and responsibilities within RTÉ into a single office. The role aims to ensure that the public are enabled and encouraged to harness the new DTT infrastructure currently being put in place across Ireland by RTÉNL, by: bringing about effective public uptake of the new television transmission and reception technology; and doing so in time for the switch-off of traditional Analogue Terrestrial Television (ATT) by the end of 2012.
Under the 2009 Broadcasting Act RTÉ must establish and launch one national DTT multiplex (a section of spectrum) to provide its own and other broadcasters' services to the public at a level of distribution aimed at replicating the level now in place for Irish licensed free-to-air channels.
Ms Curtis is currently Deputy Director of Programmes in RTÉ Television. She will take up the new post in September 2010 and will report to the Director General.
Source: RTÉ Press release
Item added: 5th July 2010
Free-to Air DTT on air by end of October
Ireland’s minister for communications Eamon Ryan has told parliament that digital free-to-air services from RTE will be on air by the end of October and that Ireland will fulfil its obligations to complete Analogue Switch-Off (ASO) in the final quarter of 2012. He went on to say that the ASO date was not dependant on a commercial operator coming forward to provide extra choice for the service. Negotiations with several successive and prospective DTT operators have recently failed.
Ryan went on to tell The Dáil that public broadcaster RTE had assured him it would be in a position to launch services to 90% of the population by October 31, 2010; “I have informed RTE that the date for the provision of a full national digital terrestrial television service is 31 December 2011”.
In the absence of a commercial player a working group has been established to set the necessary technical standards. Ryan said receivers are ready to go. They will be tested by Sweden’s Teracom and comply with specifications set out by the Scandinavia standards body NorDig.
Source: Broadband TV News
Item added: 7th June 2010
Commercial DTT future still unclear
Easy TV, a joint venture between RTE and Liberty Global, has become the third company to turn down the DTT commercial licence offered in Ireland. Previously, a consortium led by Boxer and the OneVision consortium led by Eircom returned the DTT licence to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). In both cases, the groups had been unable to reach agreement with the broadcast network operator RTE NL.
It is expected that the BAI will announce a new tender for the DTT commercial licence in the next few weeks.
Despite the difficulties with the commercial DTT platform, free-to-air services are expected to launch in Ireland later this year and reach a 90% population by the 31st October 2010.
Analogue switch-off is planned for completion in 2012.
Source: Irish Independent and more recent article Irish DTT Orchestration Proves Problematic
Item added: 24th May 2010
DTT options still changing
The two week deadline given to the Eircom backed One Vision consortium for a decision in April culminated in the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) withdrawing its licence offer and offering it to Liberty Global’s Easy TV instead.
A spokeswoman for Liberty Global in Ireland told Broadband TV News that the offer was “under consideration”. Liberty’s partner in Easy TV is RTE, the public broadcaster that will also run a free-to-air multiplex on the Irish system, and has been at the centre of disputes with both OneVision and the Boxer consortium beforehand.
Liberty’s Irish cable operations, currently running under the separate Chorus and NTL monikers, will shortly rebrand as UPC.
Following the intervention of communications minister Eamon Ryan, requiring RTE to make its free-to-air DTT service available to 90% of the population by October 31, 2010, Ireland is still optimistic of meeting the 2012 EU deadline for analogue switch off.
Main source: Broadband TV News
Item added: 10th May 2010
Regulator publishes proposal for mobile TV licence
On the 30th March the communications regulator ComReg issued an Information Notice on the future award of a mobile television licence. The notice gives details of the proposed issue of one 8 MHz channel in the range 470-750 MHz, on an exact frequency which is still to be decided and concerns the provision of mobile TV services in the areas of Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford.
Prospective candidates are expected to be able to tender for the single licence in the fourth quarter of the year with a final announcement of the tender winner by the end of the year.
Comments on ComReg's mobile television license proposal can be made until 5.00pm on the 30 April 2010.
Source: ComReg website
Item added: 6th April 2010
Two week deadline to clinch digital television contract
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has given the One Vision consortium a fortnight to clinch an elusive deal on the commercial contract for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) according to an article published by Independent.ie.
The regulator is also reported to have asked a third party to review details of One Vision's protracted carriage negotiations with RTE's networks division. The moves come almost 11 months after One Vision was offered the commercial DTT contract when Boxer DTT abandoned plans to spend €160m on the project.
The Eircom-led consortium was initially expected to sign the contract within weeks, and Broadcasting Authority chairman Bob Collins recently said his board had "very little patience" left with the impasse.
A recent Broadcasting Authority board meeting was initially seen as "make or break" for the project, but the Authority has instead given One Vision a fortnight to indicate definitively whether they are prepared to go ahead with the project.
Main source: Independent.ie more background info: Independent.ie
Item added: 6th April 2010
Free to air DTT receivers to be certified
Public service broadcaster RTE has appointed Sweden’s network operator Teracom to test and certify STB’s for use with Irelands DTT platforms. Teracom already has many years experience of operating DTT services and STB’s in Sweden.
The Irish Free to air platform is to be known as Saorview and will offer user’s access to RTE 1, RTE 2, TV3, TG4 and several other channels, all from a single multiplex using MPEG-4 compression coding.
Certified DTT receivers will be allowed to display the Saorview logo.
Commercial pay-DTT services are also planned, but agreements still have to be finalised before services can begin.
Source: The Post
Added: 1st February 2010
Eircom takes majority stake in DTT consortium
Eircom will take a majority 65 percent stake in the Irish DTT consortium One Vision.
Under changes notified to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, in the week ending 18th December, Eircom would control 65 percent of One Vision, with Arqiva controlling 25 percent and Setanta 10 percent. A 'nominal' shareholding would also be held by TV3
The change in the ownership structure could provide new impetus to the DTT process which had been blocked following disagreement between OneVision and the broadcast network operator RTE over the transmission fees and the €20 million "security" deposit.
Main sources: Telecompaper and: Irish Independent
Item added: 28th December 2009
DTT Seven Months on
Its almost seven months since the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) awarded the three commercial DTT multiplex contracts to the One Vision consortium, yet little has happened, reports the Irish Times.
OneVision is a consortium, which includes Eircom TV3, Arqiva and Setanta.
The report goes on to say that the shareholding structure between the members of the consortium is likely to change if the regulator approves the proposal at its 14th December meeting. In the proposal TV3 will reduce it’s holding to 5% and Arqiva to 25%.
OneVision hasn’t yet been established as a legal entity and RTÉ’s talked about requirement for a E20million up front deposit from them, might be because of this.
Another holding point for OneVision is whether government funding will be made available to promote analogue switch over.
Source: Irish Times
Item added: 7th December 2009
DTT plans at critical stage
The consortium called OneVision chosen to develop DTT in Ireland has been told by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) to progress with its plans as a matter of urgency.
The BAI has written to the consortium requesting that contracts be signed within the next couple of weeks. The expected date for signature passed in September.
One of the sticking points for OneVision is said to be the E20 million guarantee being sought by RTE who want to ensure that commercial backers will stay with the project.
OneVision is backed by Eircom, TV3, Arqiva and Setanta.
Item added: 23rd November 2009
Mobile TV to be made available in five urban areas
ComReg recently published the results of its consultation on the award of UHF spectrum in the urban areas of Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford and has decided that it should be used for Mobile TV services. Following a review of the 11 responses, ComReg is to make one network available in the UHF TV frequency range 470-750 MHz for use in the urban areas.
The licence for the operation of the network will be available for a 10-year period and must provide wholesale services to other service operators.
ComReg will select the licence holder based on a comparative evaluation process rather than through an auction. The tender process will take place at the end of 2009 and ComReg are to make guidelines for the comparative evaluation process available beforehand.
As a condition of a licence award, end-user access to the Mobile TV service must begin within 24 months of the award.
Source: ComReg response to Consultation
Item added: 3rd August 2009
September launch of DTT delayed
RTE have confirmed that they will not be launching the DTT platform in September as previously planned. The new plan is to launch its services alongside those of the commercial platform and both “jump together”
Full item: Independent.ie
Item added: 13th July 2009
Latest amendments to Broadcasting Bill passed by Dáil
The latest amendments to the 2008 Broadcasting Act have been passed by the Irish Parliament’s House of Representatives (the Dáil) and returned to the revising house,the Senate (Seanád) from which it was initially presented for final ratification of the Dail amendments and forwarding to the President for signing.
Some of the amendments concern the creation of a new super regulatory authority established along somewhat similar lines to the UK’s Ofcom. The new organisation is to be known as the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) and will replace the RTÉ Authority which self regulated RTÉ since its inception and the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI), the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) which regulated the commercial broadcast sector. For now, this bill does not alter ComReg's spectrum management role over TV and radio. A further chance for TV license payers who default is introduced before prosecuton incurs also.
The wording concerning the switch over to DTT has also been modified to allow some additional leeway. The new proposal is that instead of at least 90% free-to-air coverage being available by the 31st December 2009 that the wording will be that approximately 90% of the population would be covered. In addition it is also proposed that the free-to-air DTT coverage will be the same as that provided by analogue TV by the 31st December 2011 or such later date as may be specified by the Minister. RTÉ are tasked with equipment sourcing and assisting with ASO information to the public with the BAI given the informational role on DTT under the Minister's co-ordination with stakeholders. The Minister has the power to provide for those most disadvantaged by the move to DTT.
If the changes are agreed they will go to the President for signing into law as the Broadcasting Act 2009.
Source: Broadband TV News and http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=9433&&CatID=59 with additional information sources from Seo Cáthain
Original item: 22nd June 2009
Item updated: 6th July 2009
One Vision gets Irish DTT licence
The Broadcast Commission of Ireland (BCI) has awarded the licence for the three national DTT multiplexes to the One Vision consortium.
This follows the withdrawal of the original winner, the Boxer-Communicorp. Consortium from the DTT licensing procedure, after reported difficulties in negotiating with RTÉ Networks Limited, the transmission Company and operator of the public multiplex.
Source: Broadband TV News
Item added: 18th May 2009
OneVision wants DTT licence
THE ONEVISION consortium of Eircom, TV3 and Setanta Sports has decided to enter talks with the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) with a view to landing the commercial digital terrestrial television (DTT) licence that was recently handed back by the Denis O’Brien-led Boxer group, according to reports in the Irish Times web addition..
It is understood that OneVision, which is chaired by Fintan Drury and includes specialist DTT provider Arqiva, will make public its intention to hold talks with the BCI in the coming days.
OneVision was second to Boxer in the beauty parade last year for the DTT licence.
OneVision had originally proposed a “basic” offering of 23 channels, costing €9.99 a month. It also wanted to offer premium sports and movie content and indicated that it would invest €40 million in the project. This original package is likely to be re-negotiated because of the current financial situation
Source: Irish Times
Item added: 12th May 2009
BCI confirms Boxer decision to withdraw applications for DTT multiplex contracts
The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has today (April 20th) confirmed the decision of Boxer DTT Limited (‘Boxer’) to withdraw its applications for the three DTT Multiplex Contracts.
Boxer has cited prevailing and anticipated economic circumstances, in addition to challenges in successfully concluding a contract with RTÉ Networks Limited, to the satisfaction of both parties, for the provision of transmission services.
The BCI is now seeking confirmation from One Vision; the second placed applicant in the DTT licensing competition; that it is interested in pursuing contract negotiations with the BCI and is in a position to do so, in the event that the BCI were to award, in principle, the contracts to One Vision.
Source: BCI website
Item added: 27th April 2009
ComReg consults on Digital Dividend
The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has published a
consultation document on Ireland’s digital dividend.
The dividend will become available when the switchover from analogue to digital terrestrial television technology takes place before 2012.
The consultation focuses on a number of key issues which include the following;
•The option of clearing the 800 MHz sub-band to accommodate uses other than broadcasting and providing access to it in a timely manner.
•Exploring opportunities for sub-bands other than the 800 MHz sub-band as part of Ireland’s digital dividend
•Considering whether some of the digital dividend could be set aside as an innovation reserve.
Responses must be received by the 7th May.
The full consultation document on the digital dividend, ComReg 09/15 is available in the publications section of the ComReg website www.comreg.ie
Item added: 16th March 2009
Commercial DTT transition hit by economic downturn
Despite the Competition Authority rubber-stamping plans for a €165m investment in Irelands commercial DTT market, an article on 'independent.ie' reports that the start of services might be further away then they seem.
It quotes “sources close the national broadcaster” as saying that despite Boxer winning the contract in September, to launch programmes on the service planned to start last month, they have yet to return the contract.
RTE have already spent €40 million on equipment for the network and are now reluctant to spend more until the contract has been returned.
See full article at: independent.ie
Item added: 2nd March 2009
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland will take over regulatory responsibility from the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland on March 31 2009.
The new regulator will replace the RTÉ Authority, and the governing body of TG4, as well as the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC).
The new regulator will have the power to curb ownership where a purchaser might end up with more than 25% of licences. Unlike its predecessor the power will be extended to a regional level, taking into account the local advertising market, and setting its own rules for the number of licences that can be held in a particular region.
Source: Broadband TV News
Item added: 3rd November 2008
Rohde and Schwarz wins DTT contract
German transmitter manufacturer Rohde and Schwarz has won the contract to provide the transmission equipment for Irelands DTT roll-out.
The contract is for 12 sites throughout Ireland and each site will be fitted with a 4 operational +1 reserve transmitter system. (4+1). The entire deployment is expected to be completed by January 2009 as part of RTÉNL's goal to provide DTT signals to 90% of the Irish population by the end of 2010.
Source: the future.tv
Item added: 27th October 2008
Irelands switchover must be promoted
Boxer DTT, winners of the contract to provide DTT in Ireland, are reported to have told the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland that a ‘digital champion’ is needed if the switch from analogue to digital television is to go smoothly. Boxer DTT chairwoman Lucy Gaffney said there was still a lack of public awareness of the changeover and that the government should appoint an independent body to oversee the change in a similar manner to Digital UK.
Source: Advanced Television.com
Item added: 23rd September 2008
Irelands official DTT trial ends
Eamon Ryan, the Communications Minister for Ireland, has formally announced the end of Irelands official DTT trial.
” We have reached the end of the beginning of the digital terrestrial television process. Now we move to national rollout,” said Ryan.
The trial officially ended on August 1st but from August 4th transmission provider RTE Network limited will provide a new DTT network to test and develop services.
The trial in Dublin and County Louth has been in operation since August 2006 and involved 1000 homes. The results of the trial show that 82% of those involved would recommend DTT to a friend and 84% were satisfied with the overall service.
As reported previously MPEG-4, H.264 Audio Visual Coding is to be used for the new service.
Recent press reports have suggested that the launch of the new service from the Pay-TV licence winner Boxer is expected to be delayed until September 2009 so that the free-to-air multiplex from public service broadcaster RTE can be launched at the same time.
Main source: Broadband TV News
Item added: 4th August 2008
Boxer DTT Ltd. awarded DTT multiplex contracts
The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland today (Monday, July 21st) announced its decision with regard to the award of the three national Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) multiplex contracts. The contracts were advertised by the Commission on the 7th of March.
The Commission considered the applications received from three consortia and has awarded the contracts in principle to Boxer DTT Limited.
The award of the contracts is subject to clarifications and the successful outcome of contract negotiations, which will take place in the coming months.
Source: BCI Press release
Item added: 21st July 2008
Consumers warned that TV’s are not Digital Ready
The recent trials of DTT services in Ireland are thought to be confusing buyers into purchasing equipment unsuitable to receive official DTT services. The current trials are taking place using the MPEG-2 digital compression standard used in the United Kingdom and not the newer MPEG-4, H.264 standard that is to be used in Ireland. Consumers that have already purchased “Digital Ready” equipments to view the trial services will have a shock on the 31st July when their pictures go blank as the trial also switches to MPEG-4.
Broadcast enthusiast Brian Greene made the situation clear when he said that “it’s important that organisations ranging from the Department of Communication, Energy and natural Resources to BCI, RTE and various consumer bodies should be warning customers not to buy products in the mistaken belief they are optimised for DTT just because they say “Digital Ready””.
”The state should warn retailers not to sell pig in a poke TV sets. If the set is not going to be Digital Ready (MPEG-4) then stickers should be removed and shoppers should be warned that UK digital sets will not work here,” Greene warned.
Item added: 15th July 2008
ComReg consults on Spectrum for Mobile TV
The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) announced a public consultation on the award of UHF spectrum on the 18th June, initially for the five urban areas of Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.
The spectrum could be of interest not only to the broadcasting sector, for the provision of a multi-city Mobile TV service, but also to the wider communications sector as it could facilitate other mobile multimedia applications. ComReg will also consider any suggestions for other possible uses of the spectrum from licensees.
The consultation focuses on two possible award options and relevant licence conditions which, in the case of a Mobile TV service, include the following: A licence duration of 10 years, wholesale service obligations aimed at ensuring access to the content on fair, transparent and nondiscriminatory basis for other operators; A requirement that the Mobile TV service is available to end-users in each of the five urban areas within 24 months; Annual licence fees of €340,000 indexed to the Consumer Price Index.
Licence conditions applicable to other services include the following: A licence duration of 10 years, a spectrum mask based on an 8MHz bandwidth under which the service must technically operate; Annual licence fees of €650,000 indexed to the Consumer Price Index.
The consultation is open until 5pm on the 30th July.
Item added: 26th June 2008
New Broadcasting Bill approved
A new Broadcasting Bill has recently been approved by Government and has now been passed on to the Parliament for final approval.
The Bill represents a consolidation of almost 50 years of Irish broadcasting legislation and seeks to deal with virtually all aspects of that regulation and the provision of broadcasting in Ireland. The new Bill repeals key Acts that date from 1960.
More comprehensive information on the new Bill can be found by clicking on the following source link.
Source: Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
Item modified: 27th May 2008
BCI announces bidders
Three consortiums bid to operate Ireland's three available multiplexes and each has bid for all three.
The consortiums are Boxer DTT Ltd., Easy TV and One Vision.
Boxer DTT Ltd. includes the Irish, Communicorp and Sweden’s DTT operator Boxer as backers whilst, Easy TV has RTE and UPC’s parent company Liberty Global backing the bid.
One Vision the remaining bidder includes Eircom, TV3, Setanta and Arqiva in the consortium. The DTT licensing procedure is expected to be completed by July, with services launching a few months after.
Item added: 6th May 2008
Partnership bids for Irish DTT
A single consortium is to bid for all three Irish commercial DTT multiplexes.
The partnership consists of Eircom, broadcaster TV3 and Setanta Sports who have all decided to go for a joint bid rather than bidding individually for the three available multiplexes.
The fourth multiplex has been reserved for public broadcaster RTE.
Source: Broadband TV News
Item added: 8th April 2008
RTE plans to invest €120 million in new digital network roll-out
RTE plans to invest €120 million in a new transmission network, which will pave the way for the switch to digital television according to an article in the Sunday Business Post. The article goes on to say that RTE's transmission subsidiary, RTENL, has put a cost of €95 million on the first phase of the rollout of digital terrestrial television (DTT) which will bring the new system to 90 per cent of the population.
RTE will have one multiplex and commercial operators will have three.
RTENL expects that more than 75 per cent of the population will have digital television by the second quarter of 2009, increasing to 90 per cent by 2010.
Communications minister Eamon Ryan said: ''The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) will shortly be commencing its process to issue commercial DTT contracts in 2008, and it is expected that the commercial sector will work, together with RTE and the BCI, to develop an attractive range of DTT services well ahead of 2012."
A new website has been launched to give more information on the DTT transition and it can be accessed by clicking on the following link digitaltelevision.ie
Source: Sunday Business Post
Item added: 4th March 2008
BCI issues Multiplex Licensing Policy
The Broadcast Commission of Ireland BCI, has published a policy document entitled “BCI DTT Multiplex Licensing Policy 2008” following the allocation of three DTT multiplex licences to it by ComReg.
The document details BCI policy in relation to the future licensing of DTT Multiplexes A, B and C to commercial operators.
The pdf document can be downloaded by clicking on the following link.
BCI DTT Multiplex Policy 2008
Item added: 26th February 2008
Source: Seo Catháin
DTT licence conditions published by ComReg
ComReg the Irish Commission for Communications regulation has issued a framework document for DTT services in Ireland.
DTT multiplex licences will run for 12 years and be subject to a fixed licence fee.
The first multiplex licence has been issued to RTE, the public service broadcaster and the Broadcasting commission of Ireland BCI.
Either MPEG-2 or MPEG-4, H.264 AVC can be used for compression and DVB-SSU can be used for over-the-air software updates.
ComReg is expected to open a consultation on mobile television licence conditions in the first half of 2008.
Source: ComReg website
Item added: 14th November 2007
DTT plans in the Irish Republic
The DTT process in Ireland was initially regulated by the 2001 Broadcasting Act.
In 2007 this Act was amended to allow multiple operators instead of the previously restrictive single multiplex operator limitation.
Now it is expected that there will eventually be six DTT multiplexes in operation in the Irish republic. ComReg will issue two licences to RTE and four to the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) for tender to commercial operators.
At present the available spectrum is limited and ComReg are only expected to issue one national multiplex to RTE and three multiplexes to the BCI until after analogue switch off, when the remaining multiplexes will be released.
The BCI is currently finalising its DTT policy and it is expected that the tenders for DTT licences will be issued in June 2008.
Technical trials have been taking place in Ireland since 2006 and it is expected that the soft launch of a more public service will take place in Q3/Q4 2008 with a hard launch in 2009.
Analogue switch off is planned to take place once the DTT coverage exceeds that of the existing analogue service, which is put at 98%.
Thanks to Seo Catháin, Dublin Institute of Technology for the updated.
Item added: 23rd October 2007 (corrected 28th January 2008)
Useful link: http://www.digitaltv.gov.ie
(information on this link has been removed or re-allocated)
ComReg open DTT Licensing Consultation
On the 31st August, the Commission for Communications Regulation, Comreg, issued a consultation on digital Terrestrial Licensing.
The comprehensive document lists DTT transmission in VHF and UHF bands using both 7MHZ and 8MHz channels with both 16QAM and 64QAM modulations. HD parameters are defined as being 1080*1920.
The main purpose of the document is to consult on the proposed licence conditions for the DTT multiplex licences to be issued to Radio Telifis Eireann (RTE) and the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI), by Com Reg.
ComReg is seeking comments on the duration of the DTT licence, annual licence fee, rollout obligations, sanctions for non-compliance, provision of information and technical conditions.
The consultation lasts until 12th October 2007 and ComReg plans to publish final conclusions in November.
Source: ComReg website
Item added: 3rd September 2007
DTT trial adds Setanta channel
Setanta Ireland and Setanta Golf have been added to the digital terrestrial television pilot currently underway in Ireland, bringing the number of DTT TV channels available to 29.
Tony Killeen the communications minister said that although the EU had requested that Member states complete the transition from analogue to digital TV broadcasting by 2012 he expected the development of digital TV in Ireland to take place much quicker.
"I expect the development of a national public service and commercial deployment of digital terrestrial TV services in mid 2008, to ensure that Ireland doesn’t get left behind in the coming broadcasting revolution" he said, according to a report on Broadband TV News.
The trial, which is taking place in the Dublin area, started in August 2006 and is planned to run until August 2008.
Currently the channel breakdown is one in HD, 12 in SD and 12 radio channels.
Source: Broadband TV News
Item added: 14th August 2007
HD trial begins at the GAA Football final
The first terrestrial HD broadcast in Ireland took place recently as part of the ongoing DTT pilot.
Communications minister Eamon Ryan launched the HDTV broadcast which took place at the Leinster GAA Football final at Croke Park on Sunday July 15th.
The trial was organised by RTÉ, TV3 and TG4, CEDA (the Electrical Distributors Association) and BT. Starting on July 16 the pilot channel will begin broadcasting a showreel of HD content produced by Irish broadcasters.
Source: Broadband TV News
Item added: 16th July 2007
Arqiva and O2 launch a DVB-H trial in the Dublin area
Network operator Arqiva together with the mobile telecom operator O2 have launched the first DVB-H commercial trial in Ireland.
The trial services are available to 350 users in the Dublin area and were also demonstrated at the recent DVB World conference in early March.
Users equipped with Nokia N92 receivers will be able to access 13 television programme services including RTE1, RTE2, TV3, TG4, Sky News, Sky Sports News, Sky Sports 1, Setanta Sports Ireland, Discovery, Cartoon Network, Sky Travel, Interactive Music, Interactive Games. In addition, viewer interaction will be possible with some services.
The trial will last until 31 August 2007.
Original source: O2 press release
Item added: 13th March 2007
HD to be available on the Irish DTT platform
According to Ertweekly the final Irish DTT platform will provide HDTV as well as SDTV programmes. A two-year DTT trial was launched in August 2006 and next month will be extended to a 1000 home trial across the east coast of Ireland from Dublin to Dundalk.
The article went on to say that although MPEG-2 coding is currently under test on the platform MPEG-4 AVC will be used during later phases of the trial and this would also be used to facilitate HD services.
Source: ERT Weekly
Item added: 13th February 2007
Commercial DVB-H trial to begin January 2007
O2 and Arqiva recently announced the first trial of broadcast mobile TV in Ireland. DVB-H pilot transmissions will start in December with a full 8-month trial beginning in January 2007. Four hundred O2 Ireland customers in the greater Dublin area are expected to take part using Nokia N92 mobile phones. Part of the trial will investigate interactive services to be linked with some music video and video games channels. Other material to be broadcast includes the main Irish TV channels.
A full report on the outputs of the trials will be presented to the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources and ComReg in 2007.
Ireland is now pushing ahead with digital TV and a two-year pilot is set to start this autumn and according to siliconrepublic.com, Ireland already has 700,000 households subscribing to digital satellite and cable/MMDS services from Sky (427,000) and UPC Ireland (formerly NTL and Chorus, with over 260,000).
Sources: Arqiva and silicon republic
Item added: 24th October 2006
DVB-H on one-year trial
3G mobile operator 3 has been awarded a license by Com Reg to trial broadcast TV services to mobile handsets.
The license takes effect immediately and will run for one year. The trial comes after 3’s subsidiary in Italy launched a DVB-H service called WalkTV earlier this year.
Ireland has a relatively high take-up of digital TV with 42% of all houses using DTV services.
Source: Business Plus Online
Item added: 26th September 2006
Nine applicants for Multiplex Programme Content Manager
The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) and the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural resources announced that they had received 9 applications for Multiplex Programme Content Manager (MPCM) by the 10th August.
The MPCM will be responsible for managing the content on its DTT Multiplex and at least three Multiplexes will be available for the trial.
The applicants were, BT Communications Ireland, Channel 6 Television, Chellomedia Services, Communicorp Group, Magnet Networks, RTÉ & Eircom, Sky Ireland, TVONE Broadband Media and USP Ireland.
A working group involving representatives of the department of communications, Marine and Natural Resources and the BCI will now process all the applications received. It is expected that a decision on the outcome of this process will be announced in October.
Source: BCI website
Item added: 15th August 2006
Magnet Networks apply to operate Irish Digital Terrestrial Television service
Magnet Networks has submitted an application to the Broadcasting Commision of Ireland (BCI) to operate the state's digital terrestrial television service.
Magnet Networks is submitting the application to operate as Multiplex Programme Content Manager during the trial of the Digital Terrestrial Television and it intention is to become a commercial operator of a national system.
The trial envisaged by Magnet would incorporate next generation TV services such as Video on Demand (VoD), Personal Video Recorder (PVR) technology and other broadband enabled added value applications for the consumer.
Magnet is in the middle of a €65 million deployment of a national IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) network.
Ireland’s Digital Terrestrial Television trial, which will run for two years, is due to begin on Friday 11th August and 1,000 participants will take part. It marks a key milestone in meeting the European Commission’s target analogue switch-off date of 2012.
Item added: 13th August 2006
Process Inviting Content Providers for DTT Trial begins
Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Noel Dempsey T.D., announced on the 29th June that the process of seeking applications from persons interested in participating in the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Pilot in Ireland had begun.
Submissions are sought from interested parties who may wish to become Multiplex Programme Content Managers and to supply programme content to the DTT trial.
Produces of such content as television and radio services as well as data applications and new technologies are encouraged to submit applications.
“This latest step in the implementation of the pilot provides an opportunity to potential content providers to take part in Ireland's first DTT trial," said Minister Dempsey. "The trial can highlight the issues involved in providing a DTT service with quality channels and new, innovative content, to Irish viewers.”
"This process provides an opportunity for interested parties to explore the possibilities around the market case for a full roll-out. The Department is open to suggestions from content providers on the types of broadcasting services which can be tested and trialled," concluded Minister Dempsey.
The DTT pilot is currently in the build phase and is expected to be operational by mid-August 2006. It is planned to continue the pilot over a two-year period, during which time broadcasts will transmit from the Three Rock site in Dublin and the Clermont Carn site in County Louth.
The Pilot can be seen as a precursor to a national rollout of DTT services.
Source: Irish Ministry press release
Item added: 11th July 2006
Ireland aims to meet EU 2012 Switchover deadline
Announcing details of the infrastructure for the pilot testing of DTV in Ireland, Noel Dempsey, the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, said that Ireland should aim for the EU deadline of 2012 for a complete switchover to digital TV.
The trial is now planned to start in August and BT Communications (Ireland) will provide a multiplexing and distribution service, with NEC (UK) supplying and installing the transmission and combining system.
The test infrastructure will provide the framework for technical testing and spectrum planning, as well as holding demos of broadcast channels and services and is intended as the precursor to a national rollout of DTT. The testing period is due to last for two years and broadcasts will transmit from Three Rock in Dublin as well as a site at Clermont Carn in Co Louth. More details of the pilot can be found on the website http://www.dcmnr.gov.ie/Broadcasting/Digital+Television/Digital+Television.htm
Item added: 16th May 2006
Shortlist for DTT launch
Six applicants have now been short listed for the launch of Ireland's 24 month DTT pilot. The short listed companies are Arqiva, BT, Chorus, National Grid Wireless (previously Crown Castle), Siemens and Simac.
Transmissions from the Three Rock site in Dublin and Clermont Cam in County Louth are expected to begin mid-2006.
Source: Broadband TV News
Item added: 29th November 2005
Telecom firms set to battle for digital contract
According to a recent article in the Irish times, a number of large telecommunications companies are vying to build new digital TV infrastructure for the Irish government in preparation for the turn off of analogue TV signals.
The Department of Communication invited expressions of interest from firms willing to build an operate systems earlier in the year but has yet to announce a shortlist of applicants.
Companies expressing interest are believed to be, National Grid Wireless and Arquiva as well as BT Ireland.
It is expected that RTE Transmission Network Limited will want to get involved in the project but the article does not say that this has happened yet.
Source: Irish Times
Item added: 9th November 2005
Government sets out digital plan
The Government has confirmed that it is planning to develop a pilot programme for Digital Terrestrial Television and has invited expressions of interest for the infrastructure elements of the project.
According to the pilot plan, broadcasts will start from the Three Rock site in Dublin and the Clermont Carn site in County Louth. The aim of the project is for technical testing and the demonstration of new channels and services.
Item added: 4th July 2005
Digital TV system to be tested in Dublin
The Government will unveil a pilot digital television project in Dublin next month and announce plans to switch off the existing RTÉ analogue television service according to the Irish Times 28/03/2005.
The test service is now expected to begin broadcasting in Dublin later this year. It will enable consumers with a digital television to receive up to 12 television and radio channels for free without having to pay a subscription fee.
Minister for Communications Noel Dempsey is quoted as saying that the service would form the first stage of a nationwide roll out of a digital terrestrial television service.
"We hope to have up to 12 channels available on the system, all the national channels and an additional six or seven channels for TV, video or radio services."
Mr Dempsey is also quoted as saying that the Government would switch off RTÉ's existing analogue free-to-air television service sometime between 2010-2015. The final date chosen for switch-off would probably be closer to 2010 than 2015.
According to the article 38 per cent of households in the Republic still depend on analogue terrestrial broadcasting, and as many as 90 per cent of homes use a normal aerial for extra TV sets.
The Government and RTÉ first began preparing a strategy to introduce digital television in the Republic in 1997. But the first attempt to hold a competition to entice a private operator to set up and run a system ended in failure in 2002.
Source: Jamie Smyth Technology Reporter, Irish Times 28th March 2005.
Ireland plans free DTT
Ireland's DTT service is to be free-to-air. The decision was revealed in a wide-ranging consultation from communications watchdog, Comreg, on the use of spectrum in the digital age.
Source: Cable & Satellite, Europe. January February 2005