Ireland to blunder on DTT like ONdigital?

Published Categorized as fta, television

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[update: more structured version of this post is here ]

text of an email to Cllr. Mark Dearey of the Green Party Co. Louth

Mark, I hope you are the correct person to contact in regard to this matter

Is Ireland about to make the same DTT mistake ITV ON:Digital made in the UK before the BBC Freeview success?

I read in the Sunday Business Post that DTT is on its way to Ireland, currently I can see the FTA DTT tests on the trial using a basic DTT receiver (from the UK).

I read from your pre Election press release

We will work with the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Authorities to develop an all-island digital ‘free to air’ broadcasting service carrying RTE1, RTE2, TG4, TV3 and the Northern Ireland BBC/ITV public service main channels. This will ensure that in 2009, when the analogue system is closed, we will be able to receive free-to-air services for these channels.

however as Minister Eamon Ryan (GP)  is about to launch DTT in Ireland via
the Sunday Business Post reports
that “RTE has held talks with a number of parties with regard to joint ventures for the operation of the DTT platform. While RTE will be free-to-air on DTT, it looks increasingly likely that there will be a modest charge to access British channels.”

Is FTA DTT cross border no longer a GP policy?
If it is and the current market conditions indicate that the British channels are to be provided by encrypted commercial DTT providers it flies in the face of GP policy.

Could you please direct me to the person within your party who is responsible to see party policy is adhered to. I feel it may be an issue that if promoted as policy properly may have a chance of becoming standard. otherwise public service TV in Ireland will never get parity of carriage in the UK or NI if we do not provide their TV here.

BTW the Green Party are not alone in this view. RTE also want UK public service TV FTA in Ireland as stated here

RTE are making a very strong case for FTA UK channels to be got in Ireland! (Page 9) in this confidential document from August 31st 2007 Advisory Note to the Directorate General For Competition and the Directorate General For Information Society & Media of the European Commission concerning RTÉ’s approach to Digital Switchover in Ireland.

As a final idea on this matter – the journalist in the Sunday Business Post could be plain wrong. But as there is nothing within the text of the  website to contradict the SBP article and statement that STBs from the UK may not work in the Republic of Ireland, it does not bode well for a harmonised cross border approach to this simple matter of providing TV signal on a platform that is old, widely used and succeeded in the UK when the BBC ran it as FREEview as opposed to when ITV’s ON:Digital ran it to make profits.

Regards Brian Greene
ps. still no word of a meeting re 567Khz switch off on March 24th 3 weeks from today.