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Sunday 20 April 2014

RTE pulls sale of transmission unit

RTE has formally pulled the plug on the sale of its transmission network. The move had been expected for some time, particularly since the new Minister for Communications Dermot Ahern, ordered a review of the state broadcaster's strategy for Digital Terrestrial Television.

A majority state in the transmission network was up for grabs under a bidding and tender process. The network would have been used as the basis to develop a digital terrestrial television network in the future.

The sale process has been dogged with problems from the outset. Originally, it was estimated that it could be worth ?70m. But the problems with ITV Digital and the general downturn in the economy did not help.

RTE said in a statement that the RTE Authority had undertaken a review of the process, and in light of the fact that the sole applicant had withdrawn from the Government's digital multiplex licence process and a number of other factors, it has terminated the sale process.

Other factors included the current market and economic conditions, and the announcement by Government that it now intends to review all options for the roll-out of DTT in Ireland.

The multi-plex licence holder would have been responsible for operating and selling the service to customers. The transmission network sale process was separate but linked to the whole strategy.

The Government is expected to begin a whole new consultative process on the future digital policy framework for Ireland.

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