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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 27 Jun 1995

Vol. 455 No. 1

Written Answers. - MMDS Broadcasting.

Pat Gallagher


174 Mr. P. Gallagher (Laoighis-Offaly) asked the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications in relation to MMDS broadcasting, if his attention has been drawn to plans by Suir-Nore Relays to encrypt all channels, including those received free by satellite, they provide to their customers and in so doing to impose an extra cost on subscribers who are already paying substantial sums for service; his views on whether this represents an abuse of a monopoly position; the action, if any, he will take to rectify this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11835/95]

I am aware of the proposal referred to. It is my understanding that encoding of channels will not result in an increase in Suir Nore's basic MMDS charge, which is one of the lowest in the country. Encoding of channels is a standard practice of MMDS companies, and has the advantages both of reducing interference to other frequency users and of reducing the risk of illegal theft of signal, thus helping to keep costs and prices down. I understand that a decoder box will become necessary, however, and that there is a refundable damage deposit of £25 in each case. I understand also that the majority of Suir Nore's MMDS customers already have such decoders and that the proposal will impact only on those who do not.

The Deputy will appreciate that I cannot speak with authority on any question of abuse of a monopoly position, that would be primarily a function of my colleague the Minister for Enterprise and Employment.