The development of Ireland’s DTT platform is again on hold after the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) withdrew its licence offer from the Eircom-backed OneVision consortium in favour of Liberty Global’s Easy TV.
Talks between RTE and OneVision over the operation of the network broke down in April. A report by former Comreg chair Isolde Goggin described the distance between the two parties as so wide that it was pointless to resume conversations.
A spokeswoman for Liberty Global in Ireland told Broadband TV News that the offer was “under consideration”. Liberty’s partner in Easy TV is RTE, the public broadcaster that will also run a free-to-air multiplex on the Irish system, and has been at the centre of disputes with both OneVision and the Boxer consortium beforehand.
Should Liberty Global choose to accept the licence offer it will potentially be its second involvement with DTT. Its Belgian affiliate Telenet recently agreed to take on the running of the terrestrial system in Flanders.
Liberty’s Irish cable operations, currently running under the separate Chorus and NTL monikers, will shortly rebrand as UPC.
Following the intervention of communications minister Eamon Ryan, requiring RTE to make its free-to-air DTT service available to 90% of the population by October 31, 2010, Ireland is still optimistic of meeting the 2012 EU deadline for analogue switch off.