O'Brien-backed Boxer awarded DTT licences


The Denis O'Brien-backed Boxer DTT Ltd consortium has been awarded the three national Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) multiplex contracts.

The announcement was made by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) today and the awarding of the contracts is subject to clarifications and the successful outcome of contract negotiations, which will take place in the coming months.

The other applicants bidding for the DTT licences were OneVision, which is backed by TV3, Setanta Sports, Eircom and UK DTT specialist group Arqiva, and EasyTV, which is supported by RTÉ and Liberty Global, the parent group of the NTL and Chorus cable TV operators.

Boxer is backed by Mr O'Brien's Communicorp group and Swedish DTT provider Boxer TV Access. Recently, it urged the BCI to award it the licences on the basis that it was the only applicant with no conlflict of interest because it doesn't have interest in either satellite or cable.

DTT is set to replace the existing analogue signal, which will be turned off around 2012. Irish homes can currently get terrestrial TV stations via an analogue signal through an aerial.

Under the DTT regime, home owners must have a set-top box to receive free-to-air terrestrial TV.

Boxer has said it expects to attract 215,000 customers and achieve revenues of €50 million by 2013. It plans to launch in the first quarter of 2009 and break even by year five.