Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (329)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

329. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views regarding the development of digital television services here over the past three years; the work that needs to be carried out to provide a range of services for viewers around the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15072/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Broadcasting Act 2009 requires RTÉ to provide digital coverage to the same extent as provided over the previous analogue network, i.e. 98% population coverage, and I am advised by RTÉ that this level of coverage is being provided by the SAORVIEW digital terrestrial television (DTT) network which was launched on 26 May, 2011. For the remaining 2% of the population, RTÉ launched SAORSAT in March 2012. The development and provision of SAORSAT, which is a “free to air” satellite system providing access to the RTÉ channels and TG4, was undertaken by RTÉ on its own initiative and, as in the case of the SAORVIEW DTT network, is not a matter in which I have a function. It is technically and financially impossible to provide 100% coverage using a terrestrial TV network. However, through SAORVIEW and SAORSAT, Ireland now has 100% “free to air” coverage of the RTÉ channels and TG4 for the first time in the history of the State.

I am satisfied that there is a greater breadth of services available under SAORVIEW than existed under the previous analogue service and I look forward to more services being made available on SAORVIEW in the future but this is primarily a matter for RTÉ which, in accordance with the relevant legislation, is responsible for the establishment, maintenance and operation of the DTT network.