Ireland to reap a €500m digital dividend, Minister Ryan says

29 Oct 2010

RTE’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) service is now available to 90pc of the Irish population. The switchover to digital will reap the country a massive €500m windfall from the digital dividend that will result.

The DTT service will launch today from 24 sites around the country on a trial basis.

TV viewers will have two years to upgrade to digital in advance of 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. More than 1 million viewers currently use the analogue terrestrial television service in their homes.

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 lineup 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.

“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,” Ryan said.

€500m digital dividend

For Ireland, the switch off of the analogue signal releases valuable spectrum which can be used for wireless broadband and new mobile services. It is estimated that Ireland will benefit to the amount of €500m over the next decade as a result of this digital dividend.

Ryan described today’s launch of the RTE digital television service, on a trial basis, as another important milestone in the advent of free-to-air digital television to Ireland.

“Television viewers and the country in general will benefit from this modernisation of our television service. 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,” Ryan said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years