Wednesday 18 July 2007

TV disruption: phone mast to be turned off

A METEOR mobile phone mast, believed to have disrupted scores of television signals in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, is to be switched off tomorrow.

Last week, county manager, Martin Riordan, said he was preparing a legal case against the mobile phone company and that in the interim he would ask it to switch off the mast.

His comments came as more than 50 people affected by disruptions protested outside County Hall.

At a meeting of the council’s northern division yesterday, councillor Kevin O’Keeffe said he’d been informed by the local authority’s enforcement section that Meteor had agreed to turn off the mast.

“I welcome the fact that Meteor has finally succumbed to people power. I hope it sends out a message to other private companies that this council will get tough on those who flout its planning laws,” he said.

He added Meteor should give compensation to people whose reception was affected.

It also emerged that the council’s legal case against Meteor will take place on September 7.

Meanwhile, councillors were told that another mast — which isn’t illegal — was believed to be disrupting television signals in the Millstreet area.

Councillor Marie “The Shamrock” Murphy claimed that the PermaNET broadband mast, situated in the Clara Mountains, had affected television reception in a number of homes, including her own.

“I cannot receive (RTÉ) channel one properly. I also know of some people who have problems with both (RTÉ) channels. There have been reception problems in Millstreet in the past, but they have got a lot worse since this mast was put up. I’ve no doubt the mast is responsible,” she said.

PermaNET said it had been licensed by Comreg to provide broadband services to people in the Millstreet area and was using a prescribed frequency which shouldn’t interfere with television reception.

The company added, however, it would investigate complaints made to it.

Locals also claim that overhead cables running to the mountain-top mast are a blight on the landscape.

PermaNET said that in its planning application it was never given the option of any method other than overhead cables to deliver power to the mast.

Even if it had the option of burying cables, the company said, this would be too costly to make the project economically viable.

Irish Examiner

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