Northern Ireland is set to receive RTÉ and TG4 channels on Saorview following the digital switchover on October 24.
Three channels in total, RTÉ One, RTÉ Two and TG4 will now be available to viewers in Northern Ireland after both governments north and south of the border showed “real cooperation” in the switchover negotiations, according to a Labour Party spokesperson.
Both Ireland and Northern Ireland will undergo the digital switchover at the same time on October 24. The switchover will see analogue television switched off, and digital television switched on.
Viewers in Northern Ireland already pay a licence fee for the UK national broadcaster, BBC, priced at approximately £145 annually. Irish TV licence holders pay €160 annually. There will be no additional fee to receive the RTÉ and TG4 channels, however only viewers with digitally-enabled televisions or digital set-top box sets will be able to receive the extra channels.
Northern Ireland is one of three areas in the UK yet to make the digital switch, with both governments deciding the whole island of Ireland would make the move at the exact same time due to the overspill of both regions that already occurs.
The majority of residents in Northern Ireland will have made this switch in October. Irish Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte said that over 90 per cent of Northern Ireland would receive the RTÉ and TG4 channels.
It is expected rural communities will be the most affected in the digital switchover. It was announced last month that Saorview, Ireland’s free digital television service, had teamed up with community organisations to help inform the rural community in Ireland about the big switch.
UK Minister for Communications Ed Vaizey said of the recent announcement of extra channels made available to the north: “I'm delighted that the digital future for TG4, RTÉ One and RTÉ Two in Northern Ireland is now strengthened and secure”.