Broadcasting Act 2009

139.

Analogue switch-off.

139.— (1) For the purpose of considering for how long it would be appropriate for television broadcasting services to continue to be provided by analogue means, the Minister—

( a) shall keep under review inter alia the extent of—

(i) the availability of multiplexes in the State,

(ii) the availability in the State by digital means of the services specified in subsection (2) ,

(iii) the ownership or possession in the State of equipment capable of receiving the services specified in subsection (2) when transmitted by digital means, and

(iv) the likely future extent of such availability and such ownership or possession,

and

( b) shall, at such time or times as he or she considers fit and, in any case, every 6 months from the passing of this Act until 31 December 2012, require the Authority and RTÉ to report to him or her on the matters referred to in paragraph (a) .

(2) The services specified for the purposes of subparagraphs (ii) and (iii) of subsection (1) (a) are—

( a) the national television broadcasting service commonly known as RTÉ One and RTÉ Two established and maintained by RTÉ,

( b) the national television broadcasting service established and maintained by TG4 under section 118 (1) (a) , and

( c) the television programme service provided under the television programme service contract by the television programme service contractor.

(3) For the purpose mentioned in subsection (1) , the Minister shall, on requiring reports under subsection (1) (b) , consult with—

( a) such persons as appear to the Minister to represent viewers as the Minister considers fit, and

( b) such other persons as the Minister considers fit,

regarding the matters referred to in subsection (1) (a) and also, if the Minister considers fit, regarding the likely effects on viewers of any of the services referred to in subsection (2) ceasing to be broadcast by analogue means.

(4) The Minister may, at any stage or following consideration of a report under subsection (1) (b) , issue a policy direction under section 13 of the Communications Regulation Act 2002 regarding the date or dates with effect from which the Communications Regulator shall revoke licences granted under section 121 or section 59 in respect of the provision of any of the services referred to in subsection (2) by analogue means.

(5) The Communications Regulator shall, on the passing of this Act, and as necessary under section 60 (1) vary a term or condition of a licence issued under section 59 to ensure that any contract for the provision by analogue means of a service referred to in subsection (2) (c) that is at any stage entered into by the Authority shall contain a condition that, after a date or dates regarding which the Minister may issue a policy direction as set out in subsection (4) , the service may no longer be provided by analogue means.

(6) RTÉ shall take steps to ensure that all viewers of services referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (2) provided by analogue means are made aware, of the analogue switch-off date or dates, the reasons for it or them, the consequences, and practical information on how such viewers can receive such services by digital means after that date or those dates.

(7) The Authority shall from 1 July 2009 until the analogue switch-off date or dates provide information to the public in respect of the reception of television services by means of a multiplex and the reception equipment necessary to receive such television services.

(8) In fulfilling its obligations under subsection (7) the Authority may consult with multiplex contractors, public service broadcasters, the television programme service contractor and the manufacturers and retailers of such reception equipment.

(9) The Minister, for the purpose of ensuring a smooth and efficient interchange between the provision of analogue and digital television services in the context of analogue switch-off, shall have the power by himself or herself, or in conjunction with any other person, to—

( a) promote cooperation and coordination between broadcasters, multiplex contractors and other interested parties in relation to analogue switch-off,

( b) commission research on matters relating to analogue switch-off,

( c) promote public awareness and the dissemination of coordinated information to the public in relation to analogue switch-off, and

( d) operate, manage or sponsor, whether in whole or in part, measures aimed at alleviating the effects of analogue switch-off on classes of communities or persons adversely affected.

(10) The Minister has all such incidental, supplemental, ancillary and consequential powers as are necessary or expedient for the purpose of the exercise by him or her of the above powers.

(11) The Minister may, after consultation with the Authority, the Communications Regulator, RTÉ and such other persons (if any) as he or she considers appropriate, by order—

( a) confer on the Authority, the Communications Regulator or RTÉ such additional functions connected with preparation for analogue switch-off, as the Minister considers appropriate, subject to the conditions (if any) that may be specified in the order, and

( b) make such provision as he or she considers necessary or expedient in relation to matters ancillary to or arising out of the conferral of those additional functions.

(12) ( a) An order made under subsection (11) shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as practicable after it is made.

( b) Either House of the Oireachtas may, within 21 sitting days after the day on which an order was laid before it in accordance with paragraph (a) , pass a resolution annulling the order.

( c) The annulment under paragraph (b) of an order takes effect immediately on the passing of the resolution concerned, but does not affect anything that was done under the order before the passing of the resolution.

(13) In subsection (6) “analogue switch-off date or dates” means the date or dates with effect from which the Communications Regulator shall revoke any licences specified in subsection (4) .