Boxer consortium withdraws from digital TV deal

20 Apr 2009

The Boxer DTT consortium, which was last year awarded the contract to provide commercial digital terrestrial television (DTT) in Ireland, has pulled out of the project.

The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) confirmed today that the Boxer consortium, which includes Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp, had withdrawn its application for the three DTT Multiplex contracts, which were rewarded following a competition between a number of consortia last year.

In a statement, the BCI said that Boxer had decided to withdraw from the project citing “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 said that it is now seeking confirmation from One Vision, which placed second in the DTT licensing competition, if it is “interested in pursuing contract negotiations with the BCI, and is in a position to do so”. The One Vision consortium includes TV3, Eircom, Setanta and technology firm Arqiva.

Commenting on today’s announcement by Boxer, Conor Maguire, chairperson of the BCI said: “Obviously the commission is disappointed that this most recent development in relation to the commercial DTT multiplex contracts has occurred, and we are cognisant of the significant endeavours of all the parties involved to date. 

“However the BCI is committed to pursuing its policy objectives with regard to digital terrestrial television and will continue its work in this regard.”

Digital terrestrial television (DTT) is a way of sending digital TV signals (pictures and sound) to an aerial. It will eventually replace analogue television and the spectrum freed will be used for other services such as broadband or mobile services.

Under the Broadcasting Act 2007, RTÉ is required to provide a digital television service offering access to the Irish national channels – RTÉ, TG4 and TV3 – on a free-to-air basis.

The BCI was charged with licensing commercial DTT for three multiplexes, or bundles of channels.

By Jennifer Yau