Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

Cooperation pledged on RTE signal

Digital switchover is due to happen in 2012

The British and Irish governments have agreed to work together to ensure that people in NI can still receive RTE when the analogue signal is switched off.

Currently many people in Northern Ireland receive RTE's output via so-called "analogue overspill."

The analogue signal is due to be switched off in the next two years, meaning the channels will only be available on digital equipment.

The governments said they want RTE to remain "widely available" in NI.

In a memorandum of understanding the two governments said they also want to make sure that BBC services remain available in the Irish Republic.

The governments specifically want the channels to be available on Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) which will be the platform viewers use to receive free-to-air television when the analogue signal ends.

DTT is widely available in Northern Ireland as Freeview. A DTT system is now starting to be built in the Irish Republic.

The governments want arrangements to be put in place to allow for the development of digital reception equipment which is compatible with the technical standards applied in both jurisdictions.

They also want to make sure that space is available on the DTT systems in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland for BBC and RTE respectively.

The governments said they will consult with the broadcasters on costs and rights issues.

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