Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (481)

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

596 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the fact that in other EU countries viewers get public service television channels free on their local digital television service, but that in this country subscribers are being required by Sky Digital to pay for RTE; if he has satisfied himself that this is in accordance with EU law having regard to Directive 89/552/EC of October 3, 1989; if he intends to raise this matter with either the EU Commission or Sky Digital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1497/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources)

The Irish public service television channels are currently available free-to-air through an analogue terrestrial television network. The public service channels are also a "must-carry" obligation under Irish legislation on all cable transmissions and on digital MMDS transmissions. Sky Digital is not subject to regulation in Ireland in this regard. I am not aware of any conflict between the contents of directive 89/552/EC and the requirement by Sky Digital that viewers in Ireland pay for access to its subscription packages which include RTÉ.