Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Ceisteanna (140)

Michael P. Kitt

Ceist:

140. Deputy Michael P. Kitt asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties in re-broadcasting TG4 across the North of Ireland and, in particular, in parts of the greater Belfast area; if other areas on the island of Ireland are affected in terms of their reception of TG4; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29529/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Digital Switchover in October 2012 greatly improved the availability of TG4 in Northern Ireland with over 94% of homes now capable of receiving TG4 and RTÉ One and Two on 'free to air' Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) on the UK's Freeview service and/or from 'overspill' of the Saorview signal from Ireland.

TG4 has advised my Department that it has not received any reports of any disruption to TG4 availability in the North.

The location in Northern Ireland of the individual viewer’s home will determine which of the DTT systems best serve. As with all terrestrial-based broadcasting networks, there will inevitably be a few areas that, because of local topography, may not be capable of receiving the terrestrial DTT signals.

In this regard, I am advised that Freeview has a coverage checker that will inform an individual in Northern Ireland about the availability of Freeview, using their post-code. I understand that Saorview also provides a placename-based coverage checker for the same purpose so an individual in Northern Ireland has two methods of checking DTT reception at the address in question.

In addition, TG4 is available to Sky satellite subscribers in Northern Ireland, to Virgin Media cable subscribers in Belfast, and is also available on the TG4 Player via the internet.

In relation to coverage in this jurisdiction, TG4 is available to 98% of the population on the Saorview DTT network. RTÉ has built, owns and controls the Saorview network and is responsible for the roll-out, coverage and operation of that network. This is in accordance with Part 8 of the Broadcasting Act 2009, which provides that the development of the RTÉ network is an operational matter for RTÉ.

In addition to Saorview, RTÉ has developed SAORSAT, a 'free to air' satellite service unique to Ireland, to ensure that Irish television services are available to 100% of the population for the first time ever. At present, this service provides the full range of RTÉ services as well as TG4.