DTT in Ireland has had consistent set-backs since the 1990s
Minister Eamon Ryan has said a DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) test will launch in October of this year, the latest in a long line of trials for the standard since 2006.
Answering questions in the Dáil, Minister Ryan said he had told RTE that a full DTT service will be up and running in Ireland by 31st December 2011. This will make it extremely difficult for Ireland to meet an EU deadline which requires member states to have made the analogue switch-over by 2012 at the latest.
DTT has suffered a number of set-backs in Ireland since it was first mooted in the late 1990s, the latest of which has been a failure to gain commercial involvement in the platform. RTÉ now seems destined to go it alone with a single multiplex, meaning digital television will offer viewers only a handful of extra channels at best.
In contrast the UK, which has had a BBC-led ‘Freeview’ service since 2002 is already in the process of switching off analogue broadcasts in certain regions. The last – including Northern Ireland – are scheduled to be shut down in early 2012, just in time for the EU deadline.