Saturday 17 November 2018

RTE to make multi-million upgrades after land deal

Stock photo
Stock photo
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

RTE has issued a number of tenders for the upgrading of facilities, with proceeds of its €107.5m land sale allowing it to embark on a capital investment plan.

Since late May the broadcaster has issued several documents outlining plans for improvements to a number of its facilities. Director general Dee Forbes has long stressed the organisation's need for investment in order to compete in the digital age.

Tender documents from the last few weeks put a value of over €6m on a number of projects, including an upgrade of newsrooms. RTE has declined to put a figure on its investment plan but industry insiders said that significant additional investment is planned.

Forbes has previously explained how the money from the land sale will be used for capital investment and not for operational losses at the organisation. It lost over €20m in 2016 and its 2017 annual report, which has just been sent to Government, will again show significant losses. Forbes has said that unless its funding is addressed, losses will continue for the current year.

The investment plans includes an upgrade for radio microphones and ear monitors for special events (€400,000) and new fibre circuits at 18 sites around Ireland connected to Donnybrook (€3m). The upgrade to news studio three is budgeted at €1.7m.

"With an operating cost base of in excess of €300m, in any given year RTE runs multiple tender processes delivering to a broad range of service and technical requirements. RTE purchases and procures essential products and services annually in high volume and, in line with public procurement rules, RTE advertises the tender where the spends exceeds set national and EU thresholds," said a spokesman.

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