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BAI Suspends Licensing Process for Commercial DTT
07 Jan 2014 :
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has decided not to proceed with a licensing process for commercial DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) and has communicated this decision to the Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte TD.

The decision was published by the BAI today (January 7) in a review undertaken by Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates (O&O) regarding the future prospects for the licensing of commercial DTT. The review is the latest development in what has been a continuous process undertaken by the BAI to discharge its duties with regard to commercial DTT.

The Authority agreed with the findings contained in the report, which suggested that the market conditions for launching commercial DTT services have not improved and remain very challenging since the last unsuccessful licensing process was undertaken in 2008. In the interim, consolidation of the TV market occurred at the time of digital switch over (DSO), a crucial time during which viewers made a choice with regard to the optimum digital offering for their home.

Bob Collins, Chairperson of the BAI, voiced his opinions over the contents of the report saying that it “raises a number of policy implication for consideration by Government and also for the BAI, having regard to its statutory obligation and its enduring objectives in respect of diversity and plurality.”

The Authority has informed the Minister for Communications that it does not believe any statutory purpose would be achieved by embarking on a course of action in respect of commercial DTT, the most likely outcome of which would be negative. Whatever assistance regulatory intervention might offer, it would be unlikely that any intervention would sufficiently improve the revenue and costs associated with any of the business models examined to generate commercial interest in the DTT licences.

Mr Collins added that, “in submitting copies of the review to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, the BAI would now welcome the opportunity to discuss the findings of the report and the policy implications arising at an early date.” A copy of the report is available here

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