Digital TV 'will boost economy'
The imminent switchover to digital television has been hailed as a huge boost to the country's economic and social development by Communications Minister Eamon Ryan.
As the existing analogue service nears the end of its life, Mr Ryan said the transition to digital TV would mean more jobs, new services and extra revenue.
RTE is set to build the 70 million euro replacement service which will provide full coverage in the Republic and substantial coverage across the border.
The broadcaster, which currently operates 170 analogue sites, plans to build a terrestrial network to operate from 51 transmitter locations across the country.
The sites will provide coverage to 98% of the population, with the remaining 2% covered by a new public service satellite operation.
Launching the plans, Mr Ryan said people needed to be ready for the analogue switch-off, due to be completed by the end of 2012.
"Ireland is moving firmly into the digital age and we will all reap the benefits," he added.
"Digital television will offer viewers more channels, more choice and higher quality television.
"Going digital will also free up valuable spectrum, which can be used for broadband and mobile services."
Digital television will provide access to between seven and nine TV channels, the national radio channels, on-screen programme information and a new digital teletext service.