Authority frustrated by delays in deal for digital TV
Published 15/03/2010 | 05:00
BROADCASTING Authority chairman Bob Collins has said his board has "very little patience" left with stalled negotiations over the massive commercial Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) project.
The Eircom-led 'One Vision' consortium was offered the commercial contract for DTT last May, after the Boxer/Communicorp group abandoned plans to spend €165m on the venture.
The commercial DTT project was designed to go hand-in-hand with RTE's public service DTT, which will replace traditional analogue public service transmission ahead of the Europe-wide analogue switch-off in 2012.
One Vision was expected to sign on the dotted line for DTT in a matter of months, but negotiations with network provider RTE have proved protracted and the contract remains unsigned 10 months on.
"I sincerely hope the One Vision project comes to early fruition and the emphasis is on the adverb 'early'," said Mr Collins, who took the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) chair late last year.
"We wanted this concluded before the end of 2009. We have been very patient; we have very little patience left."
Mr Collins declined to be drawn on how much longer the BAI would let the impasse continue, or on whether pressure was being applied to expedite the contract's progress. Industry sources, however, described the BAI's meeting at the end of this month as "make or break".
"A deal will either be done by then, or it won't," said one well-placed source.
A spokesman for One Vision, which has been 65pc-owned by Eircom since December, said he had "no comment" to make on the ongoing negotiations.
One Vision's DTT negotiations are understood to involve RTE's networks division, which will provide the technological infrastructure for One Vision's services, and the Department of Communications.