Impact of European Law
European law requires TV services to cease using the frequencies above 694MHz by 30 June 2020. The frequencies above 694MHz correspond to UHF channels 49 and above.
In September 2019 DTT services on the Island of Ireland changed their frequencies to those agreed in a revised TV plan. This plan was agreed between Ofcom UK and ComReg in conjunction with 2rn and Arqiva. 2rn and Arqiva operate the TV transmission networks. DTT uses a much reduced amount of spectrum in this plan. It will be much harder to combine signals for UK and Irish DTT from two transmitter sites. Viewers should consider using Satellite systems to receive the Free to Air services available to viewers from many UK broadcasters.
The particular difficulty that may arise in such cases is where Freeview services and Saorview services are on adjacent frequencies from two different transmission sites. It is unlikely to be possible to combine the signals as had been done in the past using filter combiners. Sometimes mast head amplifiers had been used to receive UK Freeview. There is a risk that mast head amplifiers could be overloaded with signals from the stronger DTT transmitter.
Viewers receiving Saorview services on channels 52 and above needed to change aerial for continued reception of Saorview. Most other viewers should not have needed to change aerial to continue DTT reception from the same transmitter site. Some viewers might have needed to repoint their aerial thus changing the transmitter used for Saorview reception. They might have needed a new aerial to receive signals from a different transmitter. Viewers can obtain information and advice on reception of Saorview service from TV/electrical retailers and installers.
Irish DTT transmitted on both the old and new frequencies between 4th September 2019 and 4th March 2020. After 4th March 2020 the old frequencies used since 2013 were switched off. Viewers should have completed any required rescan by 4th March 2020. The Saorview website had more information on this.
Transmission sites which had Saorview services on channel 49 or above up to early 2020 included Clermont Carn, Truskmore, Maghera, Kilduff, Kippure, Clonmel, Suir Valley, Dungarvan, Spur Hil, Monaghan, Fanad, Letterkenny, Knockmoyle, and Castletownbere. There are others. The complete list of revised channels used by Saorview sites in 2020 can be found in the 2rn Saorview frequency list.
SItes which had a change of channel and where the parent transmitter did not change include Castletownbere, Bantry, Fermoy, Rosscarbery, Clonakilty in County Cork, Forth Mountain (south-east of Wexford town), Gorey in County Wexford and Greystones in County Wicklow. Viewers receiving Saorview from these sites should have done a rescan on their receiver.
In particular viewers in the coastal areas at Bantry Bay and Bere Island should have done a rescan on their receiver.
Two new transmission sites at Drogheda and Wicklow towns became operational in September 2019.
Some sites which did not use channels above 694MHz changed in order to facilitate the new TV plan. These were at Moville, Holywell Hill and Glencolumkille in Donegal and Greenore in Louth.
The frequencies at some transmitter sites needed to change without a simulcast period. The following sites changed frequencies in September 2019:
- Glencolumkille and Clonmany in Donegal,
- Greenore in Louth,
- Laragh in Wicklow,
- Kilmacthomas in Waterford and
- Maamclasach in Kerry.