Saor View Extension in West Cork

Thursday the 21st June

Delighted to have been informed today at a meeting with Minister Rabbitte and Mr. Michael Kehoe of RTE Networks that many of the masts across West Cork are now to be covered by Saor View. This is a very welcome development and I must extend my congratulations to the local community groups who made certain this issue was afforded the attention it deserved.
The mast to be added to the roll-out of the scheme are as follow:
Leap
Rosscarbery
Mount Gabriel
Bandon
Drimoleague
Timoleague
It should be noted that it will not be possible to say that all areas will be 100% covered until the switch over happens but this is a very welcome development of the scheme roll-out.

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Dear Deputy,

RTÉ’s transmission and network subsidiary, RTÉ NL, confirmed to TDs this week that SAORVIEW coverage levels, already at 98%, will be further enhanced by the addition of a number of new transmitter sites. Following on the ground monitoring and evaluation of the performance of the DTT network, RTÉ NL is adding a further nine new sites to ensure optimal numbers of Irish households can access free to air terrestrial television.
Areas which stand to benefit by the new transmitters include: Carlingford, Bandon, Dingle and Ennistymon; Glenties and Clonmany in Donegal; Mount Gabriel, Rosscarbery, Leap, Timoleague and Drimoleague in Cork; Kilmacthomas in Waterford and Ballina, Tipperary.

The construction of the further five transmitters in County Cork are of particular benefit to households in West Cork (Bandon, Leap, Drimoleague, Timoleague, Ballydehob and Skull). By the time of the analogue switch off on 24 October of this year County Cork will be served by seventeen of the sixty four national transmitters and the new SAORVIEW service will offer a number of benefits for Cork viewers.

SAORVIEW is currently available in 96% of County Cork. The SAORVIEW service offers an improvement of terrestrial availability of RTÉ One and Two in County Cork from approximately 90% to 96%. Availability of TG4 increases by 16% from 80% and TV3 sees an improvement in availability of 33% as it increases from 63% to 96%. Together with SAORVIEW, the new free to air SAORSAT satellite service delivers the Irish Public Service Broadcast television and radio services to virtually every home in Cork.

RTÉ senior managers and Minister Pat Rabbitte set out plans for digital switchover (DSO) and took questions at a special information session, held at the invitation of Minister Rabbitte, at Leinster House on 21st June. Some regional media coverage has raised viewer concern as to potential loss of service in their own locale and much of the session dealt with these concerns and the solutions.

For the very small number of remaining households who may still be unable to receive SAORVIEW, SAORSAT, the satellite-delivered infill solution for the less than 2% of the population who cannot receive the terrestrial SAORVIEW service has now officially launched, to include TG4. Information about SAORSAT equipment and installation costs is available at http://www.saorview.ie/about-saorview/saorsat/.

With the very high levels of SAORVIEW coverage and with the addition of SAORSAT there is now universal access to public service broadcasting on a free-to-air basis. Digital switchover will provide an improved television service and create economic and revenue opportunities through available communications spectrum.

The extensive regional retail chain is regarded as key to supporting consumer activity and providing reliable information. With this in mind SAORVIEW has embarked on a regional retail and communication drive which began in Donegal in June and will target all priority areas over the coming weeks. Brand protection of SAORVIEW and SAORSAT remains a high priority, both as a matter of consumer protection and brand management and misuse of either brand is monitored vigilantly on an ongoing basis.

In order to assist households who may find making the switch more challenging, SAORVIEW have begun its own outreach programme. SAORVIEW has now formalised its partnership with both Muintir na Tíre and Macra na Feirme, both of whom have an extensive regional footprint and well resourced and committed volunteer networks. Both groups have been given the necessary training and resources and their outreach work in this regard has already begun.

Should you have any queries as regards how best to advise your own constituents to make the switch, or any further questions regarding coverage issues specific to your own region, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Yours faithfully

Mary Curtis