Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Questions (112)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

112. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if a Saorview blackspot in County Kerry (details supplied) will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28624/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

In accordance with the Broadcasting Act 2009, RTÉ 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.

I would advise the Deputy that any signal reception issues should be directed to 2rn in the first place. Accordingly, I have referred his query to 2rn for direct reply.