Saorview viewers face new €250 bill
Ireland's telecoms regulator is considering a change to national television frequencies that could leave thousands of households facing a €250 bill.
Comreg is to decide whether to switch digital Saorview frequencies in a move that would leave at least 4,000 homes requiring a new aerial to continue receiving the signal. The move is being considered as part of a larger European plan to increase capacity for mobile operators. According to the proposal, Comreg would re-allocate frequencies currently reserved for digital Saorview and Saorsat television over to mobile broadband.
While this would save Irish mobile operators some €90m in network costs, it would require thousands of households to replace their aerials as part of a retuning process. All Saorview users would be required to retune their set-top boxes, a process that could lead to further cost for some households.
RTÉ's network transmission subsidiary, 2RN, has estimated that the switch could negatively affect tens of thousands receiving Saorview via an aerial.
"2RN estimates that 7.5pc of all aerials nationally would need replacing," said an expert report commissioned by Comreg. "However, this may be regarded as a high estimate… We assume that 0.5pc of all aerials nationally would need replacing."
The report went on to calculate this figure at "around" 3,700 Irish households, each paying €250 to replace set-top boxes and aerials. The change in frequencies would also cost the taxpayer €2.2m in a public information campaign.