Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007


Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007

The Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 is an Act of the Oireachtas (Irish parliament).It deals with Irish Analogue broadcasting systems and the amendment of legislation on Digital Terrestrial Television dating back to 2001. This act amends previous acts, in particular the Broadcasting Act 2001. It was enacted in April 2007.

About the Act

The Act gives national public service broadcasters, RTÉ and TG4, digital terrestrial television obligations and also mandates the licensing of multiplexes for carriage on the RTÉ multiplex of Irish free-to-air channels (1, later 2 multplexes, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland for other interested broadcasters using free-to-air and pay-tier multiplexes (3, later 4) and ComReg (ComReg would regulate non big screen TV type services such as Mobile TV).

It addition to digital television broadcasting and analogue television switch-off it gives RTÉ new obligations requiring RTÉ to set up and cater through a digital television channel carrying programmes across various platforms such as terrestrial, satellite, cable and IPTV providing television programmes to Irish citizens living abroad.

Such a channel is intended to carry domestic created programmes through a channel under the working title RTÉ International.

BACKGROUND

DTT was expected to be up and running in 2002 but with the collapse of ITV Digital, IT's TV was unable to get funding necessary to cover its fees and rollout the network that was envisaged as RTÉ holding a minority stake in the transmission network of IT's TV. RTÉ DTTV tests were carried out between 1998 and 2001 using Three Rock transmitter on channel 26 but these stopped along with the pilot Digital Audio Broadcasting pilot around this time. One applicant was announced by the Commission for Communications Regulation's (ComReg) predecessor, Office of the Director of Telecommunications Regulation. RTÉ broadcasts RTÉ, Network 2 (Now RTÉ 2), TV3 and TG4 with two other channels being used on occasion. Tara TV was carried by RTÉ on one of the spare channels.

No EPG information was carried but a wireless return path (DVB-TRC) was tested meaning that no phone-line would be needed for the digibox for subscription services. This is now deemed unnecessary expense to have, though TG4 express an interest in its incorporation into rollout.

RTÉ also ran a transmitter on Band 3 at Three rock on Channel D for VHF tests and intended to have a 2 way channel allow the vierwers home aerial to send a signal back to the DTTV transmitter rather than the phone line being needed. [ICDG, 2007]

Thirteen transmitters are the backbone of 92% network coverage. These are Kippure, Mount Leinster, Mullaghanish, Spur Hill, Maghera, Woodcock Hill, Truskmmore, Hollywell Hill, Moville, Cairn Hill, Three Rock, Clermont Carn and lastly Kilduff. Other in-fill transmitters are also used to cover remoter areas of the countries in which to provide coverage [RTÉNL, 2007]

The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Test has bee running since August 2006 and runs until August 2008. The pilot is open to 1,000 users chosen by a research company of 500 from around the Three Rock Transmitter in Dublin and 500 from Clermont Carn upgraded transmitter in County Louth. BT Ireland got the broadcast contract and NEC UK supply the transmission equipment.

Four multiplexes are being tested for use. 1 is for O2 Ireland and 3 Ireland called the DVB Multiplex uses Channel 26 to provide scrambled or encrypted channels only available to the DVB-Handheld enabled phone users.

As far as the Departmental approach to Irish DTT goes, an Introductory Brief of the 15th of June 2007 was given to the new Communications Minister, Eamon Ryan TD and is available under the Freedom of Information, with sensitive parts, blacked out as is common practise in such requests. In page 4 under a paragraph on DTT the pilot is described as underway, but puts forward the view that continued progress is required on both it and formal arrangements in the coming months would be needed to ensure the analogue system is replaced nationwide called "analogue switch off".

In page 7 it is outlined that Communications deals with Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Postal Sectors, divided into Broadcasting Policy, Communications (Business and Technology), Communications (Regulatory and Postal) and Communications (Development) Divisions within the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources.

Two further paragraphs are not available. In page 8 the Broadcasting Expenditure for the period is €259.537milion with €0.705 for programme administration. Broadcasting Policy and is responsible for the legislative and regulatory framework for broadcasting in the Republic of Ireland. It has corporate governance responsibility for RTÉ Group, TG4, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission. ComReg comes under the Communications (Regulatory and Postal) division of the Department. The agencies of those above are set out in page 21. In particular ComReg has a remit that covers TV services and from mobile phone networks.

Future Broadcasting Acts regarding a regulator of content for RTÉ and Commercial TV companies in Ireland
A broadcasting bill went into eConsultation which was concluded on the18th of April 2007 that foresees the establishment of a Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and would amend RTÉ Authority provisions. That bill would be expected to be enacted during 2008 and is part of the priority legislative Programme: 2007-2008 Proposals and will involve a new content regulator taking on the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) and RTÉ Authority role. Therefore it can be foreseen that RTÉ Authority duties under the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act may possibly become duties of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, or may become part of the new RTÉ structure duties that that Broadcasting Bill 2007 may become in a Broadcasting Act of 2008 (title or date of enactment not yet known) State aid issues related to RTÉ and TG4 funding are also part of the Broadcasting Policy.

The Broadcasting Bill 2006 will cover the dissolution of the RTÉ Authority, BCI, BCC and allow for transition arrangements, exemption from stamp duty, funding of the BAI by broadcasters, and the rules governing state support to RTÉ and TG4 under EC Directive 97/36/EC on state aid following government consultation with the Commission and EU Parliament. (Official Journal of EU. No. L. 202/60 of the 30th of July 1997).
The Act will also deal with TV license definitions and enforcements, codes and contract awards. It primarily will deal with State Aid concerns following on from the TV3 complaint to the Commission regarding public broadcaster license fee usage rules.

With regards to Digital Terrestrial Television and Analogue Switch-off the Department of Communications has identified that Irish DTT is the only system that can provide "better quality, new services, and more channel.. that can be regulated under Irish Law." Large scale public awareness is identified by the department. It outlined that in 1999 the Republic of Ireland decided its approach to introducing DTT with the Broadcasting Act 2001 being enacted. The model adopted elsewhere was attempted but after a public tender competition the award to run the licenses failed in 2003.

The next move happened in 2005 when the Department of Communications decided on a DTT pilot programme to start rollout of the service in the Republic of Ireland and to help develop momentum regarding DTT in the consumer and private sector. Government approved and the trial is now up and running in Dublin and Louth using a 3 year budget of €10 million, broadcasting on four multiplexes from Three Rock and Clermont Carn mountains. 12 TV channels and also radio channels are provided and Higher Definition TV was trialled in July 2007 of the All-Ireland Hurling Final.

A Pilot Stakeholders Group exists to inform those involved in it and the department regarding issues that could be similar in a national roll-out. Under the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 RTÉ has a duty to roll-out a DTT multiplex nationally carrying RTÉ 1, RTÉ 2, TV3, TG4 and possibly Channel 6. The BCI can allocate three other multiplexes which it is expected to put out to license by January 2008. Within the next year and a half 20 to 30 channels are expected on Irish DTT.

In its Digital Switchover Plan the Broadcasting Section of the Department of Communications identified the benefits that Irish citizens can benefit with increased entertainment offerings, additional sources of information and new forms of interaction and a potential means of government and public sector information. Thus digital television could be a driver of business and economic development across many sectors in the view of the Department of Communications (page 3 Intentions with Regard to the Introduction of Digital Television in Ireland). It identifies the Irish Government's role in point 16, but that Ireland is unusual due to its separate geography from mainland Europe and the issues of spectrum usage and satellite transmission. Political, economic and geographical links with Northern Ireland affect broadcasting policies and UK TV is popular in the Republic of Ireland as a result, split between cable, satellite and analogue signal overspill. Ireland has he second highest penetration of satellite in Europe but Sky its main operator is unregulated in the Republic of Ireland.

The Department of Communication also identified that broadband and digital TV contains synergies with data and telephony services. To this end the Department is involved in a National Broadband Scheme to cover the telecoms infrastructure upgrade costs for the remaining 10% of the Republic of Ireland who for demographic and commercial telecom investment reasons would otherwise not get broadband. The Department has not proposed an analogue switchover date as yet, though the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act gives the responsibility for the BCI foreseeably (BAI) to report when digital multiplex coverage for the RTÉ multiplex and other multiplexes are near universally covered and when analogue switchover can then be recommended and a date decided upon. In the next section the legislation underpinning Irish digial

RECENT LEGISLATION

The Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 makes provision in relation to broadcasting. It deals with the supply and transmission of programme material and other data by digital means. It also deals with a combination of such programme material in relation to the broadcasting of certain services to Irish communities outside the Island of Ireland. It deals with the discontinuance of certain broadcasting services by analogue means and confers additional functions on RTÉ, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) and Teilífis na Gaeilge (TG4) to confer power subject to license on Telífis na Gaeilge and amends the Broadcasting Authority Acts 1960 to 2001 and certain other enactments and related matters.

Some definitions are used in the Act such as multiplex, programme material, sound broadcasting multiplex, television multiplex and television programme service contract. These warrant further explanation, as terms frequently referred to hereafter.

A multiplex is an electronic system which combines programme material and related and other data in a digital form and the transmission of that material and data by means of wireless telegraphy, either directly or indirectly for reception by the general public.
Channels and associated channel data such as interactive services related to that channel in effect can be broadcast on a transmission network multiplex subject to Broadcasting Commission of Ireland license.

Sound broadcasting multiplex means a multiplex in which programme material is mostly sound orientated and television broadcasting multiplex is likewise mainly television broadcasting.

The Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 repeals Section 24 of the Broadcasting Act 1990, Section 4 of the Broadcasting Act 2001, Section 10 of the Broadcasting Authority Act 1960, and of the Broadcasting Acts 1960 to 2001. Section 20 of the Communications Regulation Act 2001 is also repealed as is Section 20 of the Radio and Television Act 1998 and Section 45 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1926 to 1988.

The preamble of the Act makes provision for broadcasting maters, for the supply of programme material, transmission of that material and of other data by digital means and in relation to broadcasting certain services to Irish communities outside the Island of Ireland. It also makes provision for the discontinuance of certain broadcasting services transmitted by analogue means, and confers additional functions on the Commission for Communications Regulation, Radio Telífís Éireann, Telifís na Gaeilge (still TG4's legal name) and confers powers subject to license on Teilifis na Gaeilge and amend the Broadcasting Authority Acts 1960 to 2001 and certain other enactments on the 10th of April 2007.

The Section 1 of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 is arranged as follows: 1 gives a short title, collective understanding, what matters are dealt with and when it the Act commences.

Section 2 relates to terms used which were briefly explained in the previous page of this document (interpretation).

Section 3 gives the RTÉ Authority functions.

Section 4 gives the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) new functions;

Section 5 gives the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) new duties, in relation to digital terrestrial television multiplexes.

In Section 6 new duties are given in relation to digital terrestrial sound broadcasting to ComReg.

Section 7 details regulations relating to fees by applications and procedures for same.

Section 8 relates to applications for multiplex contracts.

Section 9 relates to deciding of applications for award of multiplex contracts.

Section 10 relates to terms and conditions of multiplex contracts.

Section 11 relates to analogue switch-off and Sections 12 to 16 deal with repeals of Sections of the Broadcasting Act 2001 primarily in 12, Section 12, in 13, Section 16, in 14 Section 28, in 15 Section 32, in 16 Section 45 and 17 deals with repeals while 18 deals with expenses regarding administration of this Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007. (End of page 1 of the Act)

Page 2 deals with the main Acts repealed that are referred to such as the Broadcasting Act 1990 No.24, the Broadcasting Act 2001 No.4, the Broadcasting Authority Act 1960 No.10, the Broadcasting Authority Acts 1996 to 2001 No.10 (Broadcasting Authority (Amendment) Act No 13 isn't referred to but is mentioned once in the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 amendments section (pg16)); the Communications Regulation Act 2002 No.20, the Radio and Television Act 1988, the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1926 No 45 and the same to 1988. (End of page 2 of the Act)

Page 3 starts with explaining what the purpose of the Act and its enactment date. It makes provision in relation to broadcasting. It deals with the supply and transmission of programme material and other data by digital means. It also deals with a combination of such programme material in relation to the broadcasting of certain services to Irish communities outside the Island of Ireland. It deals with the discontinuance of certain broadcasting services by analogue means and confers additional functions on RTÉ, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) and Teilífis na Gaeilge (TG4) to confer power subject to license on Telífis na Gaeilge and amends the Broadcasting Authority Acts 1960 to 2001 and certain other enactments and related matters and was enacted on the 10th of April 2007.

In Section 1.1 the Act is cited as the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007.

In Section 1.2 the Broadcasting Authority acts 1960 to 2001 are cites as the Broadcasting Authority Acts 1960-2007.

In Section 1.3 the Broadcasting Authority Acts 1960 to 2001 and the Act as it amends or extends those Acts are to be understood as one.

In Section 1.4 the Act comes into operation on the day or days the Minister by order or other orders, either generally or with reference to particular purpose or provision and can appoint days or days for different purposes or provisions.

Section 2 of the Act refers to the Broadcasting Authority Act 160 as the Act of 1960 and the Radio and Television Act 1998 as the Act of 1988. In refers to the Broadcasting Act 1990 as the Act of 1990 and the Broadcasting Act 2001 as the Act of 1001. The RTÉ Authority is referred to as the Authority. (End of page 3 of the Act)

The reference to the Minister in the Act relates to the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. (Now the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources).

A multiplex is meant to mean an electronic system which combines material and related and other data in digital form and transmission of that material and data by means of wireless telegraphy, directly or indirectly for reception by the general public under the Act.

Programme material is meant to mean audio-visual material or audio material and includes advertisements and material which when transmitted will constitute a direct offer to the public for the sale or supply of goods or other property whether real or personal or services.

A sound broadcasting multiplex is meant to mean a multiplex where the programme material is mainly sound orientated.

Telefís na Gaeilge is meant to mean the body established by Section 44 of the Broadcasting Act 2001. (It is branded as TG4 but the Act is blind to that name, possible due to the possibility that it could establish other digital channels i.e. TG1 and so on, thus Telefís na Gaeilge is most pragmatic name for it to avoid having to re-amend such section of the Act in future).

Television multiplex is meant to mean a multiplex in which the programme material is mainly television orientated. Television programme service contract and television programme service contractor are given the same meaning as Section 4.2(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1988.

In Section 3.(1) of the act replaces Section 16 of the Broadcasting Act 1960 so that the RTÉ Authority in addition to Section 1 has to establish, maintain and operator one or more national multiplexes and can establish and maintain broadcasting services locally, communityly, regionally and has the powers incidental to those purposes. Section 1 (b) adds to 1(a) under the 2007 Amendment by adding the added function of the RTÉ Authority to establish and maintain a service as is considered reasonable in sound a television broadcasting to Irish communities outside the Island of Ireland and powers necessary for that purpose.

In Section 3.1(b) refers to 3.1(A) as to have the character pursuant of that of a public service.

In Section 3.1(c) the RTÉ Authority is told to ensure programme schedules of television and radio broadcasting are representative as possible of national television broadcasting in section 1 of the 2007 act and Section 1 of section 45 of the 2001 Broadcasting Act. (End of page 4 of the Act).

A section 3.1D is added for Teilífís na Gaeilge (still the legislative entity referred to in the Act as opposed to the brand TG4) is tasked with providing money to the RTÉ Authority for programme material that is representative of programme schedules of the national broadcasting service described in Section 45 of the Broadcasting Act 2001.

And a section 3, 1 (c), that a function of the RTÉ Authority would now be to establish maintain and operate one or more national multiplexes.

In Section 3.2 (a) the 2007 Act states that the national television multiplex of the authority will provide for digital broadcasting of RTÉ One and RTÉ Two under 16(1) of the Broadcasting Act 1960 and in Section 2 (i) and TG4 in Section 2(ii) under its legal name under Section 45(1) of the 2001 Act.

In Section 3.2 (b) asks that the national television multiplex of paragraph 3.2 (a) (i) should be established as a matter of priority to the extent those channels that are available free-to-air (terrestrial aerial) analogue at present.

In Section 3.2(c) nothing precludes the RTÉ Authority from broadcasting digital data or services beyond those of 16(1) of the 1960 Act (RTÉ 1 and RTE2). That means they can add other services under law beyond those currently.

In Section 3.3 TG4 is told to make periodic payments for any services provided by the RTÉ Authority to the RTÉ Authority under subsection 2(a)(i) after consulting with the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and after consulting with the BCI, RTÉ Authority and itself (i.e. its Board). (End of page 5 of the Act)

In Section 3.4 TG4 allows the Minister for Communications at TG4's request to direct some digital capacity from the RTÉ Authority to TG4 where if found that it's capacity it's then present not adequate.

In Section 3.5, The Minister, following the BCI's request and after consultation with the RTÉ Authority can require the Authority to give space on a spectrum for television programmes from other broadcasters for example "under the television programme service contract by the television programme service contractor".

In Section 3.6, The Minister can under Section 3.5 make a requirement to the RTÉ Authority to collect periodic or other payments in respect of services provided by the RTÉ Authority in meeting the Minister's requirement of the RTÉ Authority, after the Minister consults with the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), the RTÉ Authority and the television programme service contractor.

In Section 3.7, The Minister can place a requirement on the RTÉ Authority under subsection 3.5 that if the television programme service contractor doesn't consider that they have adequate capacity from the RTÉ Authority, the television service contractor can request the Minister to seek that the Minister's direction to the RTÉ Authority to provide the specific amount of digital capacity requested by the television service contractor and after consultation with ComReg first.

Section 4 deals with additional functions placed on the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI).

In Section 4.1 of the Act the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, are given functions to arrange for the establishment, maintenance and operation of multiplexes, including the national ones, in addition to those multiplexes establish and maintained by the RTÉ Authority under Section 16 of the Broadcasting Act 1960.

In Section 4.2 of the Act for the purposes of subsection 4.1 the BCI can enter into multiplex contracts referred to in the 2007 Act with those described as multiplex contractors in the Act, under rights and duties to establish, maintain and operate a multiplex in the multiplex contract.

Section 4.3 refers to the duty of the BCI to ensure that multiplex contractors comply with the provisions of the 2007 Act.

Section 4.4 refers to the duty of the BCI to ensure that to arrange as a matter of priority for the establishment, maintenance and operation of three national multiplexes, as far as practical will be capable of being transmitted by digital terrestrial means to the whole community in the State.

Section 4.5 the BCI is given the duty to arrange for the broadcasting (in the Irish DTT) of any television broadcasting service of Northern Ireland that is notified to the BI by the Minister, being a service that is receivable to the whole of Northern Ireland and provided by terrestrial means by digital means under a multiplex contract (in Northern Ireland). (End of page 6 of the Act)

In Section 4.6 the BCI is given powers as necessary to perform its functions and in particular, power to consult with the Commission for Communication as it sees fit.

Section 5 deals with duties of the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) with regards to digital terrestrial television multiplexes.

Section 5.1 gives ComReg that duty at the request of the BCI to issue to the BCI under Section 16 (3)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1960 a license for establishing, maintenance and operation of a single television multiplex insofar as is practical is capable of being transmitted by digital means to the whole community of the State,

Section 5.2 gives ComReg a second added duty to exercise only at the RTÉ Authority's request, and after consulting with the Minister for Communications, the BCI regarding digital capacity requirements for Telefís na Gaeilge and other television programme service contractors a license for the establishment, maintenance and operations of a further television multiplex under Section 16(3) of the Broadcasting Act 1960 and if practical that it too can be capable of being digitally transmitted to the whole of the community of the State.

Section 5.3 of the Act gives ComReg a further duty to at the request of the BCI to issue to the BCI under the Wireless Telegraphy Acts 1926 to 1988 subject to the provisions of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007, licenses for the establishment, maintenance and operations of four television multiplexes which insofar as practical can be capable of being transmitted to the whole community of the State and in accordance with contracts entered by into the by the BCI under section 4.2.

Section 5.4 gives ComReg consultation functions with regards to the desirability of it to issue to the BCI further licenses under the Wireless Telegraphy Acts 1926 to 1988 subject to the provisions in the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007. These licenses would be for establishment, maintenance and operation of additional multiplexes that would be practically capable of being received by the whole community of the State and in accordance with contracts entered into by the BCI under section 4.2

Section 5.5 outlines that nothing can be understood to prevent ComReg from following consultations with the Minister for Communications, the BCI, and other licensing authorities from issuing other licenses under the Wireless Telegraphy Acts 1926 to 19988 by means of a multiplex other than those in subsections 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 related to programme material and other data in digital form subject to conditions that the BCI may consider necessary to impost in a contract entered into under Section 12 of the Broadcasting Act 2001.
(This section probably foresees multiplexes for Mobile TV (Mobile Terrestrial Television) (as there exists Mobile Satellite Television i.e. Satellite Digital Multimedia broadcasting and Digital Video Broadcasting Satellite Handheld standards which this section doesn't relate to).

Section 5.6 relates to the any emergency declared in Section 10 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1926 allowing the Minister for Communications to suspend any license issued under this section and while that suspension continues the Minister can operate any service which was provided by under the suspended license or can require that such service to operate in its place as the Minister directs. (This section seems to relate a service during wartime that impact on the Republic of Ireland). (End of page 7 of the Act)

Section 6 relates to the duties of ComReg regarding digital terrestrial sound broadcasting multiplexes. This section seems to give provision to radio stations to broadcast in digital form on a digital sound multiplex, similarly as in digital satellite.

Section 6.1 gives ComReg a duty at he request of the RTÉ Authority to issue to the RTÉ Authority under Section 16.3(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1960, a license for establishing, maintaining and operating a single sound broadcasting multiplex that is reasonably capable in practise of being transmitted to by digital terrestrial means to the whole community of the Sate.

Section 6.2 gives ComReg a duty, only exercisable at the RTÉ Authority's request, and after consultation with the Minister for Communications and the BCI, to issue to the RTÉ Authority under Section 16.3(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1960 a license for the establishment, maintenance and operation of a further sound broadcasting multiplex that would be capable of being transmitted by digital terrestrial means to the whole community of the State.

Section 6.3 gives ComReg a duty, that at the BCI's request to issue to the BCI, under the Wireless Telegraphy Acts 1926 to 1988, subject to provision of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007, licenses for the establishment, maintenance and operation of one sound broadcasting multiplex that would be capable of being transmitted by digital terrestrial means to the whole community of the State in accordance with contracts entered into by the BCI under Section 4.2

Section 6.4 of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 gives ComReg the duty, that at the request of the BCI, to issue to the BCI under the Wireless Telegraphy Acts 1926 to 1988, subject to the provisions of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007, licenses for the establishment, maintenance and operation of one or more sound broadcasting multiplexes in as far as practical that can be transmitted by digital terrestrial means to the whole community of the State specified by the BCI or may consist of the whole or any part of the State in accordance with contracts entered into by the BCI under section 4.2. (This appears to allow the BCI issue regional or local sound broadcasting licenses for a digital terrestrial sound multiplex subject to conditions it lays for the sound broadcasting contractors).

Section 6.5 requires that ComReg consult with the BCI, regarding the desirability of the ComReg issuing to the BCI further licenses under the Wireless Telegraphy Acts 1926 to 1988 and subject to the provisions of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007, those licenses for the establishment, maintenance and operation of sound broadcasting multiplexes by digital terrestrial means to the whole community in an area of the State specified by the BCI which may consist of the whole or any part of the State in accordance with contracts entered into by the BCI under Section 4.2 (This appears to allow for additional digital broadcasting licenses to be issued beyond those in Section 6.4, but rather than by request of the BCI, it will be subject consultation between ComReg and the BCI.

(This section seems to make connection to 6.4. as ComReg required to issue licenses at the BCI's request, without consultation on one or more multiplexes for sound digital broadcasting multiplexes and that if further muliplexes are needed that ComReg would consult with the BCI regarding licensing further licenses under Section 6.5).

Section 6.6 outlines that nothing in section 6 can be understood as preventing ComReg following consultation with the Minister for Communication and the BCI from issuing other license under the Wireless Telegraphy Acts 1926 to 1988 authorising combinations by eans of a multiplex other than a multiplex of Section 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4 that relate to programme material and related and other data in digital form, subject to BCI conditions considered necessary to impose in a contract under Section 12 of the Broadcasting Act 2001.

Section 6.7 refers to the continuation of any emergency declared under section 10 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1926 that the Minister for Communications may suspend any license under Section 6 while any suspension continues and may operate any service which was provided by the suspended licensee or require such service to be operated as directed by the Minister for Communications. (This section 6.7 is similar to Section 5.6 except that 5.6 relates to television broadcasting by digital terrestrial means and 6.7 relates to sound broadcasting by digital means during an emergency declared by the Minister for Communications). (End of page 8 of the Act)

Section 7 relates to regulations and fee prescribing.

Section 7.1 outlines that for every license issued under the Broadcasting Act 1960, the Radio and Television Act 1988, the Broadcasting Act 1990 and the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 that payment of such fees for the license(s) will be prescribed (decided) by ComReg with the consent of the Minister for Communications in regulations made under Section 7. (ComReg will set the fees for licenses issued under those Acts).

Section 7.2 outlines that regulations under section 7 may determine in relation to those licenses or any class or classes of those licenses (a) fees to be paid on the grant or renewal of such licenses and (b) the time and manner at and in which fees are to be paid.
(ComReg can issue regulations regarding fees due on license grant or renewal and the time and method in which those fees should be paid to it).

Section 7.3 outlines that every regulation made under section 7 will be laid before both the Seanad and Dáil as soon it is made and that each house has 21 days when it sits next after the regulation was made to annul the regulation of ComReg on the issue by resolution of the houses without effect to the validity of anything previously done under the regulation.

Section 8 deals with applications for multiplex contracts.

Section 8.1 outlines that in order that the establishment, maintenance and operation of multiplexes and subject to 8.2 are secured, that the BCI shall as soon as after Section 8 has come into force; And thereafter from time to time, taking into account the availability of radio frequencies for multiplexes, can invite applications for multiplex contracts. And those are subject to the provisions of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007, allow the BCI to enter into those contracts.

Section 8.2 outlines that without affecting 8.1 that the BCI will within 6 months after Section 8 has entered into force, invite applications for multiplex contracts. (This would be why the ComReg has issued a consultation on multiplex license terms and wishes to conclude the consultation in November 2007, so that it can invite multiplex licensees in January 2008).

Section 8.3 outlines that where the BCI invites applicants for a multiplex contract; it has to do so by public notice outlining the coverage area which can be for the whole or part of the State and is for the broadcast of programme material and related and other data in accordance with the contract (referred to as "the maximum coverage area" ). The notice will invite people interested in establishing and maintaining a multiplex to apply for such a contract.

In Section 8.4 under Section 8.3, every notice has to be (a) published in at least 1 national newspaper, (b) to specify the procedure to be followed for making an application and (c) to specify any other matters which appear to the BCI to be necessary or relevant. (End of page 9 of the Act).

In Section 8.5 empowers the BCI in a notice under section 8.3 to specify the minimum coverage area, in which the programme material and related and other data will be broadcast under the contract and which cover area that may be less than that of the maximum coverage area specified in the notice. (This appears to mean that the BCI have to say in the notice, the maximum and minimum coverage areas will be licensed to broadcast programme content and which area coverage refers to).

In Section 8.6 apart from Section 8.3 where a minimum coverage area is specified in the notice under that section and where programme material and other related data is broadcast according to the contract entered into under that notice, it is a requirement that the person who was awarded that contract must ensure that the programme material and other related data is broadcast as much a is practical in the maximum coverage area.

Section 9 relates to the how applications for multiplex license awards are decided upon.

In Section 9.1 the BCI is required under the provisions of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 to consider every application for a multiplex contract that is received by it as a result of the notice under Section 8 for the purpose of deciding the most suitable application, if there are any, to be awarded a multiplex contract.

Section 9.2 outlines the consideration of applications received by the BCI and in deciding the most suitable applicant to be awarded a multiplex contract, the BCI has to consider-(a) the character of the applicant, of if a body corporate, the character of the body and its directors, manger, secretary of other similar officer, and persons entitled to beneficial ownership of the shares; (b) the adequacy and expertises and financial resources that will be available to each applicant to the extent to which an application accords with good economic principles; (c) the range and type of programme material or compilations of programme material proposed to be included in the multiplex by the applicant and how the applicant proposes to secure continued inclusion of such material; (d) in the case of a television multiplex, the proposals by the applicant for promoting the acquisition by persons in the proposed coverage area of equipment capable of-

(i) receiving all of the television multiplexes available or expected to be available in that area, including the national multiplex referred to in section 3.2 (a) and (ii) enabling such people to keep themselves informed of the choice of programme material included in those multiplexes; (e) in the event that the BCI has specified a minimum coverage area under Section 8.5 the extent of the coverage area proposed to be achieved by the applicant; (f) the technical proposal, including an implementation timetable, regarding the establishment, maintenance and operation of the proposed multiplex; (End of page 10 of the Act). (g) The duty imposed on the BCI under Section 4.5 and (h) any other matters which the BCI considers necessary to secure the orderly establishment, maintenance and operation of the multiplexes.

Section 10 deals with the terms and conditions of the multiplex contracts.

In Section 10.1 every multiplex contract may contain such terms and conditions as the BCI considers appropriate and specifies in the multiplex contract.

In Section 10.2 (a) the period during which a contract will continue in force; (b) whether a contract may be renewed, and if so the manner in which the terms of the period of that and the period for which a contract can be renewed; (c) a condition prohibiting the assignment of the contract or any interest without the prior consent or approval of the BCI; (d) if the multiplex contractor is a company, a condition of prohibiting any Company Memorandum or Article of Association of the company of any material change to ownership of the company without the prior approval of the BCI;(e) a condition is required of the multiplex operator to implement any proposals made in their application for the coverage area of the multiplex (f) a condition requiring the multiplex contractor to implement any proposals made in their application for the coverage area of the complex; (g) after consultation with ComReg, a condition requires the multiplex operator to implement proposals made in the applications award of the contract for promoting the acquisition by persons in the proposed coverage area of the multiplex and of equipment capable of receiving all of the multiplexes in the coverage area; (h) any conditions which the BCI finds appropriate under its duty of Section 4.5; (i) after consultation with ComReg, any condition that requires the multiplex contractor to comply with a technical condition that ComReg may require in the exercise of its functions.

Section 10.3 outlines that if a multiplex does not contain a condition of the type in 10.2 (c), 10.2 (d) or 10.2 then the following provisions will be effective: (End of page 11 of the Act) (a) that a multiplex contract or any interest in one, shall not be assignable once nor alteration to the Memorandum or Articles of Association of a company who is a multiplex contractor, nor can there by a change of ownership of the company without the previous written consent of the BCI and the BCI can if it considers it reasonable may refuse such consent, stating its grounds for such refusal;

Section 10.3 (b) outlines that when considering the grant of the BCI's consent to an assignment to the multiplex contract, a change of Memorandum or Articles of Association of a company which is a multiplex contractor or material change in the ownership of such a company the BCI will have regard to the criteria of Section 9.2.

Section 10.4 outlines that (a), every multiplex contract will- (a) provide the BCI at its discretion under stated grounds, suspend, reduce the term of or terminate the contract- (i) if any false or misleading information was given to the BCI, on behalf or by the multiplex contractor prior to the contract being done, (ii) if the multiplex contractor has in the BCI's opinion committed serious or repeated breaches of their multiplex contract obligations or under the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007.

Section 10.4(b) outlines that every multiplex contract shall provide that a multiplex contractor pays fees to the BCI as specified in it, and include fees payable to ComReg under Section 7 and any other regulations after that and 10 (c) provides that the multiplex contractors will provide such information including their accounts copies as the BCI requires to enable the BCI to carry out its functions under the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007.

In the final part of Section 10 (5), it is outlined that every multiplex will be open to inspection by the public at the BCI's registered office and that the BCI will on request made by anyone and on payment of a sum that the BCI considers reasonable, will furnish a copy of the contract to that member of the public.

Section 11 deals with Analogue Switch-off

Section 11.1 outlines that in considering how long it would be appropriate for broadcasting to continue to be provider by analogue, the Minister for Communications- (a) will keep under review, the extent to which there is:- (i) availability of multiplexes in the State, (ii) the availability in the state by digital means of the services specified in 11.2 (End of page 12 of the Act) (iii) the ownership or possession in the State of equipment capable of receiving the services specified in 11.2 when transmitted digitally (iv) the likely future extent of such availability and ownership and possession and 11.1 (b) will at the time(s) the Minister sees fit, and may anyways or before the second anniversary of the day when the first multiplex contract is awarded under the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 and will require the BCI and the RTÉ Authority to report to the Minister on the matters of Section 11.1 (a).

Section 11.2 outlines that services for the purposes of 11.1 (a)(ii) are (a) the national television services known as RTÉ One and RTÉ Two established and maintained by the RTÉ Authority, (b) the national television service established and maintained by Teilifis na Gaeilge (TG4) under Setion 45.1 of the Broadcasting Act 2001 and (c) the television programme service provided under the television programme service contractor (the broadcasters of channels on multiplexes licensed by the BCI).

Section 11.3 outlines that if the BCI or RTÉ Authority is requested to submit a report under section 11.1 (b) then its must do so within 6 months of the requested date.

Section 11.4 outlines that before such a report is made under Section 11.1(b) that the BCI will consult with-(a) the holders of television multiplex contracts, (b) the holders of all digital content contracts, (c) the television programme service contractor, (d) ComReg, (e) any other person(s) that the BCI sees fit and that the BCI will include in their report a summary of representations made to them by those consulted.

Section 11.5 outlines that for the purpose of Section 11.1 the Minister for Communications will on requiring reports under 11.1(b) consult with (a) such persons that the Minister for Communications find is appropriate to represent viewers and (b)
other people that the Minister for Communications sees appropriate and also in relation to that, that regarding Section 1.1(a) if the Minister for Communications considers appropriate, regarding the likely impact on viewers of any services in 11.2 ceasing to be broadcasting in analogue he may consult. (End of page 13 of the Act)

Section 11.6 outlines that the Minister can at any stage following considerations of 11.1 (b) issue a policy direction under Section 13 of the Communications Regulation Act 2002 regard the date or dates which ComReg may no longer grant licenses under Section 16.3 of the Broadcasting Act 1960 or Section 4.3 of the Radio and Television Act 1988 with regards to the provision of services in Section 11.2 by analogue broadcasting.

Section 11.7 outlines that ComReg may under Section 7.1 of the Radio and Television Act 1988, vary a term or condition of a license issued under section 4.3 of the Radio and Television Act 1988 to ensure- (a) any contract by analogue refers to 11. 2 (c) that is renewed by the BCI will contain a condition that the service may not longer by provided in analogue and (b) that any new contract entered into by the BCI for analogue means that such a condition or date was described, a condition that the service cannot be provided in analogue after a date that the Minister for Communications announces in due course.

Section 11.8 outlines that the RTÉ Authority will attempt to ensure that all viewers of services in 11.2 (a) and 11.2(b) provided in analogue will be made aware of the digital switchover date(s), the reasons for it, the consequences and practical information on how viewers can receive services by digital means after those date(s).

Section 11.9 outlines that for 11.8 "digital switchover date(s)" means dates after ComReg no longer grant any licenses of 11.6 type (analogue broadcasting channels).

Section 11.10 outlines that the RTÉ Authority will on the second, fourth and sixth anniversaries of the date of commencement of this section report to the Minister for Communications on the progress that the RTÉ Authority has made in broadcasting programme material and other related date in digital form. and by means of the multiplexes established maintained and operated by the RTÉ Authority under Section 16.1 of the Broadcasting Act 1960.

Section 11.11 concludes by requiring the Minister for Communications to make copies of each report under 11.1 and 11.10 to be laid before the Seanad and Dáíl.

Section 12 deals with amendments to Section 12 of the Broadcasting Act 2001.

Section 12 (a) 12.1 of the Broadcasting Act 2001 puts in "for inclusion as part of a multiplex" in Section 14. 1 of the Broadcasting Act 2001 in place of "for the purpose of any arrangement to be entered into by him or her under paragraph (a) or (b) of Section 14.1

In Section 12 (b) paragraph 2 (b) "by the designated company" is deleted and no longer effective under the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007. (End of page 14 of the Act)

In Section 13 amendments to the Broadcasting Act 2001 are deal with.
In Section 13 amendments to Section 16 of the Broadcasting Act 2001 are made so that "transmitted by the transmission company pursuant to arrangements under Section 14.1 and" of "included as part of the multiplex but within the meaning of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 and transmitted by" and (b) by the substitution into 16.9 of the following: (9) The BCI may give a direction to-
(a) a multiplex contractor within the meaning of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007, requiring that contractor to include as part of a television multiplex, with the meaning of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2008 (an) electronic programming guide(s) prepared for the programme guide contract referred to in Section 9.8. and that (b) each holder of a license in Section 37.1 requiring him or her to transmit the guide(s) and that the contractor will comply with such a direction".

Section 14 deals with amendments to Section 28 of the Broadcasting Act 2001.

Section 14 (a) substituting into 8.(c) and 8 (d)- "(c) exercising all or any powers conferred by (2) apart from (bb) and (bbb) inserted by the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 onto Section 16 of the Broadcasting Act 1960, (d) providing in accordance with its powers under the Broadcasting Acts 1960 to 2001 any service other than a broadcasting service for the benefit of the population (e) providing a service under 1 (1) of Section 16 of the Broadcasting Act 1960 and (f) the establishment, maintenance and operation of one or more national multiplexes in accordance with 16.1 of the Broadcasting Act 1960.

In Section 14(b) by substituting in for 28.10 with "(10) Without affecting Section 25.1 and 26 of the Broadcasting Act 1960 the BCI will, as soon after 31st of December of each year make a report to the Minister for Communications of what use it has made the television broadcasting service and the sound broadcasting service referred to in 25.1 and the television broadcasting service and sound broadcasting service referred to in 1A of Section 16 of the Broadcasting Act 1960 of the moneys paid under Section 8 of the Broadcasting Authority (Amendment) Act 1976 (End of page 15 of the Act) in the year and for the activities during that year, referred to in (a) (b) (c) and subsection 2 and paragraphs (d), (e) and subsection 8; and (c) by substituting into subsection 11 "(10A) "The Authority shall on or before the third and fifth anniversaries of the date of commencement of this section carry out a review of the television broadcasting services referred to in subsection (1A) of section 16 of the Broadcasting Act 1960;

And substitutes (10B) in as "The (RTÉ) Authority shall make a report to the Minister of each review carried out by it under subsection (10A) and in (11) the Minister will cause copies of each report made to him or her under 10 and 10B to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.

Section 15 of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 amends Section 32 of the Broadcasting Act 2001 substitutes into 15.1 the following "The function conferred on the Minister by Section 25(1) of the Act of 1960 with respect to directing (whether the Minister's (for Communication) own motion or at the request Minister for Finance) the (RTÉ) Authority to keep special accounts includes a power (exercisable on the Minister's (for Communications) own motion or at the request of the Minister for Finance) to direct the (RTÉ) Authority to keep a special account showing the and with regard to respectively, the television service referred to in subsection 1 of Section 18 and the television broadcasting service and sound broadcasting service referred to in subsection 16 of the Broadcasting Act 1960 and in which the moneys paid to it under Section 8 of the Broadcasting Authority (Amendment) Act 1976 in the year concerned have been appropriated for the purpose of the activities of the Authority, during that year, referred to in paragraphs (a) , (b) and (c) of subsection (2) and paragraphs (d) and (e) of subsection (8) of section 28".

The last amendment is of Section 45 of the Broadcasting Act 2001 in Section 16 of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 and for Section 45 of the Broadcasting Act 2001 inserts the following after paragraph (j) of subsection it so that it reads "(k) to establish, maintain and operate broadcasting stations and to acquire, install and operate apparatus for wireless telegraphy.", and for (b) of the same Section 45 of the same Act 2001 for subsection 8, ads "9(a) The powers conferred on Teilifís na Gaeilge (TG4) by virtue of paragraph (k) of subsection (8) of this section shall not be exercised save under license by the (ComReg) Commission for (End of page 16 of the Act) Communications Regulation and in accordance with any conditions attached by the Commission for Communications Regulation to such license.

(b) adds "During the continuation of any emergency declared under section 10 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1926, the Minister may suspend any license under this subsection and while any such suspension continues, the Minister may operate any service which was provided by Teilífis na Gaeilge (TG4) under the suspended license or require such service to be operated as he directs". And for (c) " A copy of every license under this subsection shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after the issue of the license".

Section 17 of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007, repeals Section 2, the definitions of "digital multiplex license", "DTT license", "multiplex", "the multiplex company" and "the transmission company" and Section 5 to 9 and 13 to 15 of the Broadcasting Act 2001 No 4 of 2001.

Section 18, the last section of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 outlines that expenses incurred by the Minister for Communications in the administration of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 to the extent agreed with by the Minister for Finance, will be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas. (End of page 17 and of the Act text)

External links

* [http://www.dcmnr.gov.ie/Broadcasting/Broadcasting+Legislation/] The Irish Government Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources website, section on broadcasting acts in the Republic of Ireland
* [Oireachtas, 2007 The Houses of the Oireachtas, "Broadcasting (Amendment) Act 2007 No.15 of 2007, http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/acts/2007/a1507.pdf] , Published: 18/04/2007, Accessed: 25/10/2007
* [http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/attached_files/RTF%20files/GovLegislationProgAutumn2007.rtf] BCI evolutation into BAI planned for 2008
* [http://www.rte.ie/business/2008/0514/rte.html] RTE.ie/business "Bill sets up new broadcasting watchdog" Accessed: 14/05/2008.
*Oireachtas, 2008 The Houses of the Oireachtas,http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/bills/2008/2908/b2908s.pdf Broadcasting Bill 2008 to establish the BAI to take over BAI, RTÉ Authority, Broadcasting Commission of Ireland and Broadcasting Complaints Commission duties, and establish RTÉ and TG4 (previously Téilifis na Gaeilge) as corporate semi states and establish Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Oireachtas TV) and Irish Film Channel (Irish Film Board/Board Scannan na hEireann).
* [http://www.comreg.ie/_fileupload/publications/ComReg0765.pdf] Consultation on DTT Multiplexes, Commission for Communications Regulation (radiowave spectrum regulator).
* [http://www.comreg.ie/_fileupload/publications/ComReg0790.pdf] Commission for Communications Regulation, "Response to Licensing Digital Terrestrial Television", Document 07/90
* [http://www.comreg.ie/_fileupload/publications/ComReg0790a.pdf] Commission for Communications Regulation, " License for Digital Terrestrial Television", Document 07/90a.
* [http://www.comreg.ie/_fileupload/publications/ComReg0790b.pdf] Commission for Communications Regulation, "Technical Conditions for Digital Terrestrial Television", Document 07/90b.
* [http://www.comreg.ie/_fileupload/publications/PR091107.pdf] Commission for Communications Regulation, "ComReg published License framework for Digital Terrestrial Television", Document: PR09 1107.
* [http://www.siliconrepublic.com/news/news.nv?storyid=single9607] Silicon Republic.com "DTT licences will cost operators €114k", by John Kennedy
* [http://www.dcmnr.gov.ie/Press+Releases/Dempsey+Signs+Commencement+Order+for+Broadcasting+(Amendment)+Act+2007.htm] Department of Communications commencement order of the Act 15 by the previous Minister for Communications, Ireland in April 2007
* [http://www.comreg.ie/publications/information_notice_-_correngendum_to_fwala_guidelines_document_06_17r.542.102761.p.html] Information on ComReg's role in Irish broadcasting spectrum regulation
* [Broadcasting Commission of Ireland DTT license applicants proposals http://www.bci.ie/DTT/licensing.html


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