Make or break for Ireland DTT

The development of digital terrestrial television (DTT) is at a ‘make or break stage’ after the consortium that holds the DTT contract said it needed more financial leeway for the project.
The OneVision consortium, which includes Eircom and TV3, told the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) that it needed some flexibility on the financing of DTT. The consortium has the contract to run commercial content on the DTT system, which will take over from free-to-air broadcasting when transmission to aerials ceases across Europe in 2012.
OneVision, which also includes Arqiva and Setanta, was recently told by the BAI to get contracts signed as a matter of urgency. However, OneVision has said that financial requirements demanded by RTE, which will build the transmission network, are standing in the way of a deal. RTE wants a guarantee of E20 million from One Vision to ensure that the commercial partners will stick with DTT if it builds the network for more than E100 million. OneVision believes that this E20 million guarantee is too much to hand over in the current economic environment.
It also believes that RTE’s proposed transmission fees are too high. The proposed transmission fees are about E10 million, although it is reported that RTE will cut these by 20 per cent. OneVision is also seeking a commitment from the government that it will invest in the promotion of the switchover to DTT.