Northern Ireland is to gain a new low power digital TV multiplex for the carriage of television services from the Irish Republic. In a joint statement issued by the British and Irish governments it was announced that RTÉ 1, RTÉ 2 and the Irish language TG4 would be made available to around 90% of the province
As part of the Good Friday agreement signed in April 1998 the UK Government agreed to the construction of a new transmitter at Divis for the reception of TG4 in the North. This combined with analogue overspill from transmitters in Ireland has given the channel reception in 60% of homes.
The new multiplex will broadcast in DVB-T2, the same parameters used by Freeview HD, meaning that unlike standard definition Freeview receivers the devices can be used on both sides of the border. The additional capacity within the multiplex will enable the carriage of the two principal RTE channels.
A not for profit company will be established by RTÉ and TG4 to run the multiplex which will be licensed under the UK’s Wireless Telegraphy Act of 2006 by Ofcom at the request of the UK Government. Other elements of the operation will be put out to a competitive tender.
The two administrations are working together on the co-ordinated switch off of analogue signals that will take place in Northern Ireland and Ireland at the end of 2012.