Ireland's plans to launch a digital terrestrial television (DTV) service carrying both Irish and UK channels could fall foul of the European Commission's preliminary investigation into the financing of DTV networks in Germany and Sweden.
A service offering programmes from both sides of the Irish Sea is the brainchild of the Republic's communications minister, Dermot Ahern (right), along with a DTV trial by state broadcaster RTE that would enable viewers in the Greater Dublin area to receive several digital channels for free.
According to the Irish Times, however, unnamed government sources are now concerned that the EC inquiry into state aid for digital terrestrial TV, if found to present unfair competition to cable and satellite, could delay the trial and scupper the commercial viability of the DTV project.
The outcomes of the two investigations, taken together, are likely to provide a blueprint for the future financing of DTV across Europe and may prohibit all forms of direct and indirect subsidy.
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