The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland has invited applications from companies to set up new television services in the Republic, writes Des Cryan.
Contracts will be awarded for satellite providers and for the provision of services for particular regions, as well as for cable or multipoint distribution systems.
Commenting on the decision, Michael O’Keeffe, BCI chief executive, said he hoped that any new contracts would add to the diversity of programmes available to the public.
The BCI sought to find out the level of interest in additional television services last year. More than 40 expressions of interest were received from TV companies, media firms and company groups, including Setanta and TV3. Few of the larger media players came forward, however.
According to reports, various community organisations, special interest groups and State institutions have been showing interest. Talks have also centred around the creation of a parliamentary channel.