Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (333)

Tom Fleming


333. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will immediately investigate and examine the Saorview service at Droum, Glenbeigh, County Kerry; if he will accept the fact that this area cannot access Saorview, which is causing a huge inconvenience to potential users and needs to be addressed immediately; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15116/14]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

In accordance with the Broadcasting Act 2009, RTÉ, through its subsidiary company 2rn, is responsible for the roll-out, coverage and operation of the SAORVIEW digital terrestrial television (DTT) network and I, as Minister, have no function in this matter. Specifically, the Act 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 TV network. 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. Ireland is not the only country to have introduced a national TV network on both a terrestrial and satellite platform. Many countries, including the UK, have developed their digital networks on both the traditional terrestrial platform and also over satellite. The reason for this is simple: it is technically and financially impossible to provide 100% coverage using a terrestrial TV platform. 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. That said, I have noted the specific details of the case raised by the Deputy in this Question and have had them brought to the attention of RTÉ's network company, 2rn.