Saorview roll-out to reach West Cork

Saorview’s digital roll-out has been extended to include pockets of patchy coverage in West Cork where five existing masts will be upgraded to broadcast the service.

Masts located at Bandon, Leap, Drimoleague, Timoleague, Ballydehob and Schull will be upgraded to facilitate the roll out, Saorview announced over the weekend.

The move was welcomed by local residents amid growing concerns over the analogue switch-off on Oct 24.

Once the upgrades are complete, the move will see 17 of the 64 national transmitters located in Cork.

Leap Community Council spokesman Pat O’Callaghan said residents were relieved to hear the local transmitter at Myross was earmarked for upgrade. Residents were facing costs of up to €350 as quoted from a local supplier in Skibbereen to install a Saorsat dish, which posed an aesthetic threat to the village, Mr O’Callaghan said.

“This is good news for the people, they are charmed with this announcement, they did not want these monstrous dishes protruding from their houses. But while it is good news for us, there will still be regional pockets that might not get Saorview. We would advocate that people are made fully aware of what’s to come with the switchover,” he said.

West Cork residents were among 2% of households affected nationwide, including west Kerry, Dungarvan and parts of Connemara where access to the free-to-air DTT Saorview service will be limited.

12 of 55 existing Saorview transmitters are located in Cork, at Mullaghanish, Castletownbere, Bantry, Clonaklilty, Bandon, Kinsale, Spur Hill, Collins Barracks, Glanmire, Crosshaven, Fermoy and Mitchelstown.

Parts of Co Cork are covered by transmission sites in Counties Kerry, Clare and Waterford. Saorview is currently available in 96% of Cork homes and the service offers an improvement of terrestrial availability of RTÉ One and Two from approximately 90% to 96%.

Availability of TG4 will increase by 16% from 80% with Saorview while TV3 availability will increase by 33% from 63% to 96%, according to Saorview.

Some 108,000 households nationwide currently avail of the digital service.

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