OneVision wants DTT licence


THE ONEVISION consortium of Eircom, TV3 and Setanta Sports has decided to enter talks with the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) with a view to landing the commercial digital terrestrial television (DTT) licence that was recently handed back by the Denis O’Brien-led Boxer group.

It is understood that OneVision, which is chaired by Fintan Drury and includes specialist DTT provider Arqiva, will make public its intention to hold talks with the BCI in the coming days.

OneVision was second to Boxer in the beauty parade last year for the DTT licence.

There is still a long road to travel but this will no doubt come as a relief to the BCI, which faced the prospect of having to run the competition again.

RTÉ has already been awarded the free-to-air DTT multiplex, which will carry terrestrial channels via a set-top box.

The BCI wants to license a commercial operator, who will be free to offer households a package of digital TV stations for a fee. Both need to be on air by 2015.

O’Brien told me last week that Boxer’s decision was a combination of “timing and costs” against a backdrop of recession.

OneVision had proposed a “basic” offering of 23 channels, costing €9.99 a month. It also wanted to offer premium sports and movie content and indicated that it would invest €40 million in the project.

Given the economic backdrop, we can only presume that OneVision will seek to renegotiate some aspects of its proposal with the BCI. Expect the joint RTÉ/Liberty Global consortium that finished third to OneVision, to keep a watching brief.