Northern Ireland To Get Irish Digital Channels

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RTÉ, the Republic of Ireland’s national broadcaster, and Irish language broadcaster TG4 will broadcast digital channels on Freeview in Northern Ireland starting in October.

LONDON - TV viewers in Northern Ireland will be able to watch digital channels TG4 and RTÉ One and Two from the Republic of Ireland on digital terrestrial TV platform Freeview following Northern Ireland's transition from analog to digital TV, the U.K. government said Tuesday.

RTÉ, the Republic of Ireland’s national broadcaster, and Irish language broadcaster TG4 have joined forces to form a not-for-profit venture, which will be responsible for the installation of the new infrastructure.

Delivery of these channels will be supplemented by coverage from Saorview, Ireland's equivalent of the U.K.'s Freeview service.

The deal is significant as it signals cooperation between the Republic and Northern Ireland after the two signed the Good Friday peace deal agreement in 1998.

U.K. government minister Ed Vaizey, minister for culture, communications & the creative industries, said: "I’m delighted that the digital future for TG4, RTÉ One and RTÉ Two in Northern Ireland is now strengthened and secure." Vaizey described the pact between the digital TV operators as "good news for viewers."

Irish minister Pat Rabbitte said that the announcement means that as of the country's analog switch-off date of Oct. 24, "over 90 percent of viewers in Northern Ireland will be able to receive TG4 and the two primary RTÉ channels in digital on the Freeview service or by way of the overspill from the Saorview service." He added: "It is a hugely positive result in terms of practical cooperation resulting from the Good Friday Agreement."

 

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