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Eircom move lifts hope of ending digital TV impasse

  • 22-12-2009 1:38pm
    Closed Accounts Posts: 1,616 ✭✭✭
    THE chances of finally resolving the impasse over Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) are understood to have "improved considerably" in recent days after Eircom moved to take a 65pc stake in the consortium charged with rolling out the next generation of paid-for TV.

    Originally equally owned by Eircom, Setanta, TV3 and UK firm Arqiva, the One Vision consortium had been contemplating its DTT options since May 11, when it was awarded the contract for the technology's "commercial rollout".

    The group's lengthy delay in signing binding contracts with the Broadcasting Authority and networks provider RTE has prompted widespread speculation that One Vision was preparing to hand back the contract, mirroring Communicorp/Boxer's decision to give up the original DTT contract in April.

    It is understood, however, that after a period of limited engagement over the autumn, RTE and One Vision have embarked on discussions with renewed vigour in recent days, with one meeting last week, another today and a third scheduled for early January.

    The impetus for the resurgence in discussions is understood to be linked to the Broadcasting Authority's declining patience with the lack of progress, coupled with proposed changes in One Vision's ownership structure.

    The changes, notified to the Broadcasting Authority last week, would see Eircom take a 65pc stake in the venture, while Arqiva takes 25pc, Setanta takes 10pc and TV3 assumes a "nominal" shareholding.

    While RTE and One Vision have clashed on pricing, the main bone of contention is understood to have been RTE's insistence on some form of "security" from the consortium, ideally a €20m deposit in recognition of the many millions of euro RTE networks must invest in DTT infrastructure.


    Sources close to the process confirmed One Vision's revised structure would materially impact the security issue.

    "When you have a better joint venture, you could have more of one type of security, like parent company guarantees, and less of another," said one source. "The more solid the joint venture, the easier it will be to arrive at terms suitable for everybody."

    Industry sources said Eircom's majority stake "makes sense" because the telco has a strategic interest in having a "triple play" TV, phone and broadband offering that could compete with major rival UPC.

    It is understood that TV3's slimmed down One Vision stake reflects the broadcaster's doubts about whether the project is commercially viable enough to convince owners Doughty Hanson to cough up a multi-million euro cash injection.

    Both Eircom and TV3 declined to comment on the ownership changes, as did a spokesman for One Vision. A spokeswoman for the Broadcasting Authority confirmed changes had been notified, but said the authority would not announce a decision on the new structure until the New Year.

    Sources close to the process, meanwhile, pointed out that while the chances of One Vision sealing a DTT deal had improved of late, success was by no means certain. "It's looking like we'll know by the middle of January, so that's something at least," said one source.

    not f#cking eircom,if i had the powers i would nearly give it to sky instead,cant belive this,they already made a balls of the broadband in ireland and now it could be this?,i can imagine it,"no we wont give you digital tv because its not worth our shareholders time to bring it out to your area"...


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,468 ✭✭✭BluntGuy

    As much as I despise Eircom, I'm fairly certain the contract would have to garuntee TV access to ALL those who have invested in the appropiate receiving equipment.

  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭Sponge Bob

    ehh eircom "guarantee" nothing save for expensive leased lines and even then they try to weasel out of it.

    RTE owns this particular network and it serves about 80% of the population right now ( pre launch) and looks set to reach 90% in 2010 sometime and eircom only have a licence guaranteeing them most of the capacity on it if they will pay for it.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 430 ✭✭Steviemak

    In fairness to eircom they are the only company prepared to put any money into this venture. Every other suitable company has run away from this one.

  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 18,068 Mod ✭✭✭✭Kimbot

    Weren't Eircom bought out? If so I would wait and see what this new crowd are going to do before saying no way to anything they offer.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,319 ✭✭✭Trick of the Tail

    I'd still be surprised if this ever happens. Eircom? Setanta? Hardly healthy companies.

    Who'd pay for subscription TV?

    I reckon that most households in this country that WANT subscription, multichannel TV already have it via Sky or Chorus/ntl. No-one is going to pay ANOTHER subscription, and its unlikely that One Vision's will be more attractive.

    The terrestrial digital TV subscription ship has sailed, and is over the horizon now.

    RTE must be forced (however unwilling) to (officially) launch the public-service digital TV package, and launch it soon.

    And leave it at that. Many people have Mpeg4 TV receivers now, and many are already watching RTE's DTT, so the should stop d**king about with it and make it official - they've been 'testing' an already proven system for far too long.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,884 ✭✭✭101sean

    The basic channels need to be got out out there soon on DTT for free and forced there by the govenment if needed, forget about subscription TV, this initially failed in the UK as anyone who wanted dozens of channels already had cable or Sky. Once it has settled down then something like the UK's Top Up TV could be introduced if there was the demand.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,616 ✭✭✭97i9y3941

    think we need to solve our broadband crisis first before we do this,i mean how can we be a knowledge economy with a laughable broadband coverage..

  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭Sponge Bob

    Fred83 wrote: »
    think we need to solve our broadband crisis first before we do this,i mean how can we be a knowledge economy with a laughable broadband coverage..

    That is not something that eircom can and will do. They are nearly bankrupt , carrying €4bn of debt and a pension fund deficit of somewhere between €500m and €1bn on top.

    Universal DTT coverage is possible if you spend well into the 10s of €ms and it is not extensible to BB coverage
    Universal Fibre to the premises in the large cities and towns is possible spending in the 100s of €ms or low billions .
    Universal Fibre to the premises across the state would be a €5bn + project and yet anything less is pointless.

    Copper is a dying technology and wireless will never deliver owing to lack of spectrum...and anyway high quality wireless requires fibre backhaul from the mast.