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'Black spot' viewers left in the dark

SHE bought the new 32-inch Saorview compatible television well ahead of the digital switch-over but, like hundreds of others, learnt it was money wasted.

Fiona Griffith learnt a new term about three weeks ago -- Saorsat -- and now feels she wasn't fully kept in the picture about the changes.

She and her neighbours are living in one of the "designated areas" or "black spots", as she prefers to call it, where a satellite is needed to pick up the Irish channels.

The village of Annascaul in west Kerry was ahead of the rest of the country in one respect. Its analogue signal was switched off on Tuesday night ahead of the official switch-over at 10am yesterday.

Fiona, like many of her neighbours, pays a flat fee of €160 per year for a Sky box. She's not without TV channels today but she doesn't have RTE 1, RTE 2 or TG4.

If she wants to get these channels through Sky it will cost her around €35 per month.

To access all the Irish channels, she will have to fork out an additional €300 minimum for a Saorsat satellite and box.

Her village is just one of a number of areas in the country that cannot access the Saorview service.

Irish Independent