Liberty Global has approached the Irish government to seek assurances that RTE will not be allowed to carry commercial digital television services as part of the analogue switch off process. Liberty, which as UPC Ireland is the country’s principal cable operator, says that it will level a complaint with the European Commission should the public broadcaster offer commercial carriage.
Liberty says that the Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill, currently before the Irish parliament, creates “ambiguity” about RTE’s position. UPC Ireland chairman Shane O’Neill says that RTE NL, which runs RTE’s transmission services, should be restricted to public service broadcasting and anything further would distort the market.
Liberty’s Chellomedia is one of a number of parties interested in becoming multiplex operators when the Irish DTT system gets underway.
RTE has been awarded two multiplexes on the platform, but with only four national channels, there is the potential to use the remaining capacity for commercial activities.