“Thank you for your email of 26 May, and further email of 22 June, to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), about Freeview channels. I am replying as a member of the DCMS Ministerial Support Team.
It is unfortunately the case that some Freeview viewers receive fewer channels than viewers in other areas. This is because Freeview (terrestrial TV) services in the UK are broadcast from a network of 80 primary transmitter masts. These masts are generally tall structures which operate at high power levels so as to provide coverage to as many viewers as possible and 90 per cent of UK viewers are in areas covered by signals from a primary mast. However, these signals are not available in all areas, often due to factors such as distance from the transmitter or to the nature of the local terrain.In order to extend terrestrial TV coverage to such areas, between the 1970s and the 1990s, broadcasters progressively built an extensive network of smaller analogue relay transmitters which provided fill-in signal coverage where possible which increased the total availability of terrestrial signals to around 98.5 per cent of the UK population. There are now around 1,100 of these relay transmitters in the UK.Relay transmitters do not broadcast as many channels as the primary transmitters. This is because digital television, unlike analogue television, is transmitted in groups of channels known as multiplexes of which there are currently six. Three of these multiplexes are known as the ‘public service broadcaster’ multiplexes and carry the digital equivalents of the old analogue channels (BBC 1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5), and around 11 other standard definition channels. The public service broadcaster multiplexes also include four high definition channels which can be received by viewers with Freeview HD compatible equipment.
At the time of digital switchover, in keeping with the Government’s requirement that the former analogue channels should be as widely available in digital form as they were in analogue, Ofcom required broadcasters to upgrade all their relays as well as the primary transmitters to carry the public service multiplexes. This ensures that these core services continue to be available to at least 98.5 per cent of the UK population.
The other three multiplexes are known as the commercial multiplexes, and are operated by the transmission company Arqiva and SDN Ltd (a subsidiary of ITV plc). The commercial multiplexes have been broadcast from the UK’s 80 primary transmitters for some years. However, because the commercial multiplexes do not carry any of the old analogue channels, the decision about whether to upgrade relays as well as the primary transmitters was a commercial one for the multiplex operators. Ofcom cannot require the operators to upgrade further transmitters to carry the commercial multiplexes and while the commercial operators were given the opportunity to add further transmitters to their networks at the time of switchover, they have chosen not to do so.
It is also worth mentioning that there are insufficient ‘spare’ transmission frequencies available to allow all relays to be upgraded to carry the commercial multiplexes, although the main constraint is that of poor commercial viability.
In practice this means that viewers who use a relay transmitter are able to receive up to 20 Freeview TV channels, including all of the channels they were able to receive before switchover and all of the BBC’s licence-fee funded terrestrial TV services, as well as a selection of HD channels which can be received on Freeview HD equipment. Those viewing from primary transmitters are able to receive more than 40 TV channels.
As the coverage and range of available Freeview channels varies by area, viewers were advised to contact Digital UK before digital switchover took place for information on channel availability at specific locations from the time of switchover. Digital UK can also provide information on alternative reception platforms for viewers who wish to receive a wider range of channels. Alternative reception options include the non-subscription satellite services operated by Freesat (www.freesat.co.uk) and freesat from Sky (www.sky.com/shop/freesat). Digital UK can be contacted on 08456 50 50 50, or via http://www.digitaluk.co.uk.”
I recently spoke with a resident who lives just south of Perth Road in the Sinderins area. She was surprised to have received a mailing in the past few days from Digital UK about TV digital switchover when, like all other residents in the area, she had done this last August.
The mailing was aimed at occupiers of flats and it talks about switchover happening from May of this year. I queried this with Digital UK and am advised by their Assistant National Manager :
“The simple answer is that constituent will have received the mailing as she has a chance of receiving a signal from Craigkelly. Where someone is in an area where there is a chance of receiving signals from different transmitter groups, we include them in mailings for all the relevant transmitters they could be getting their signals from.
We try and target the information we issue as specifically as we can. But, as you can imagine there are some areas where crossovers exist and we have to cover all bases. As you know we do not know which properties have and have not made the switch, so we need to include all possible properties in case they are included in that particular transmitter group.
We appreciate that this will cause confusion for some who made the switch in August. To deal with this, we have a three-point ‘What to do’ list in the leaflet and the first point is to speak to your landlord or property manager to see if anything needs to be done. Any good landlord/property manager should know the answer to this straight away.”
The Craigkelly transmitter covers part of the STV Central area (Edinburgh/Lothians/South Fife) and although quite a few residents in southern parts of the West End may get TV signals from it, it is very much a “secondary” transmitter for the area as its target audience is largely south of Glenrothes/Central Fife. This resident’s primary transmitter is Tay Bridge in the STV North area and it was part of the STV North digital switchover that happened last August.
Although this resident is not elderly, as she points out many of her neighbours are elderly and she’s concerned that this mailing may cause them some confusion. I’ve pointed out to Digital UK that I doubt there’s more than a small handful of people in Dundee who have not already made the digital switch – the vast majority of residents will have transferred to digital TV either before or at the STV North switchover last summer.
The message is simple – if you get a mailing about digital switchover and you have already switched to digital TV, ignore the mailing – but if you need any advice, contact Digital UK on 08456 50 50 50.
Freeview viewers should rescan channels again tomorrow. Full details areavailable on the Digital UK website. This does not affect cable and Sky viewers.
As I have previously indicated, I am particularly anxious that elderly residents are given the fullest assistance, and if I can be of any help to any West End resident, do please call me on Dundee 459378 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m pleased to say that Digital UK and representatives from the help scheme (financed by the BBC and aimed at helping elderly people and people with disabilities get assistance to be able to continue getting their TV programmes after the swtchover) will attend the Community Fayre taking place on Saturday 21st November – at the launch of West End Christmas Week.
The Digital UK team is embarking on a series of activities for council wards within the STV North area. Holding at least one event in every ward, Digital UK will stage a mix of drop-ins and public meetings to engage directly with the communities. The team will work with councillors to address the needs of each community and to ensure that everyone knows what they need to do in the run up to switchover next year. Events will be held in Shetland Isles, Orkney, Western Isles, Highland, Moray, Aberdeen and Shire, Dundee, Angus, North Fife, Argyll and Bute (northern part) as well as Perth and Kinross.
STV NORTH GETS SWITCHED ON TO SWITCHOVER HELP SCHEME
FREEVIEW UPGRADE EXTENDS FIVE AND PREPARES FOR HD
Freeview has completed an upgrade to its service to ensure Five is as widely available as the other main terrestrial channels after switchover. Key changes were also made to the network to prepare for the launch of HD services. Freeview viewers were required to retune their equipment from lunchtime on 30 September to continue receiving all channels in their area.
Following the changes, 500,000 existing Freeview homes are now able to receive Five for first time. ITV3 and ITV4, however, will no longer be broadcast from relay transmitters. Viewers in need of advice on retuning can visit tvretune.co.uk or call an automated helpline on 08456 051122.
DIGITAL TAKE-UP RISES AS VIEWERS CONVERT SECOND SETS
Viewers across Scotland are getting the urge to go digital in their kitchens and bedrooms. Latest research from Ofcom (to June 2009) reveals 70 per cent of all secondary TV sets across the UK have now been converted, up 15 percentage points on this time last year. In total, 80 per cent of the UK’s 60 million sets are now connected to a multichannel TV service.
The Help Scheme has launched a television and print advertising campaign to raise awareness of the help available to older and disabled people so they can continue to watch their favourite television programmes after switchover. The Help Scheme will also be running local activity and poster advertising campaigns and Help Scheme events in the lead up to switchover. The Help Scheme is also working alongside Digital UK and with local charities and organisations to spread the word. More information can be found with the recent press release (seehttp://tinyurl.com/digitalhelp).
Eligible people in the STV North TV region will be offered a Freeview set top box for £40, or free if they also get income benefits. The help also includes installation if requested, a demonstration of how to use the equipment, an aerial check and upgrade if necessary for those that own their own aerials and a free help line to ring for advice while they get used to it.
There are many ways to go digital and additional Help Scheme options are available at extra cost – these are set out in the options guide sent to eligible people. The Help Scheme will write to all those who are eligible, starting with the islands as a distinct mailing burst to allow installers to complete installations within a fixed window of time.
The Switchover Help Scheme has appointed Luke McCullough as its National Manager, Scotland.”
I have had a number of constituents (and a gentleman from Gowrie Park, across the ward boundary into Lochee Ward) contact me to say that the net effect of the retune was the loss of Channel Five! However, if you retune again, Five should reappear.
I am indebted to Alan Cowie, the former Grampian TV presenter – who spoke at the meetings. Alan is assisting Digital UK’s effort to liaise with people to ensure that their TV and digital questions are addressed and answered. He is excellent at covering the issues and engaging with the audience. Many elderly people in particular had questions about how they ensure they continue to receive television reception after the switchover and it was appropriate to hold these meetings at sheltered housing lounges in the area.
As a result of the meetings today, I have taken up some individuals’ TV reception complaints and am – as always – pleased to assist any other West End residents with them.
Above : Alan speaking to Pennycook Court residentsAbove : Morven Terrace Sheltered Housing meetingAbove : The meeting at Blackness CourtAbove : The doggie audience!
The meetings will allow local residents to raise complaints and concerns about TV reception and on the issue of the digital switchover with John MacNeil, Digital UK’s Assistant National Manager for Scotland. Many elderly people in particular have questions about how they ensure to continue to receive television reception after the switchover and it seems highly appropriate to hold these meetings at sheltered housing lounges.
I am grateful to Digital UK for taking part in the local meetings this week. Their expertise will help residents with any TV reception and digital switchover issues they wish to raise. Digital UK are the experts regarding the digital switch-over and will be there to provide advice to any resident with questions about the impending changes and help that is available.
There have been many TV reception issues raised with me recently and I felt it would be helpful to allow residents in the West End to speak with the experts directly.
The meetings take place this Wednesday (24th June) at the following locations:
10.15am Morven Terrace Sheltered Lounge
11.00am Pennycook Court Sheltered Lounge
11.45am Blackness Court Sheltered Lounge
12.30pm Paton’s Lane Sheltered Lounge
1.15pm Tullideph Sheltered Lounge
2.00pm Corso Street Sheltered Lounge
Digital UK’s Assistant National Manager for Scotland has now said that where a resident gives me permission to pass on their contact details to him with detail of their reception problems, he is willing to look into their specific reception problems, which is I think is a helpful response.
“I have passed this on to our interference team, who will be able to do a possible investigation for you and any information that they may know about this transmitter.”
I have made the point that the extent of the problems is such that there clearly is an issue with the Angus transmitter – I have had calls from people living as far away as Perth and the one thing virtually all people who have complained about the issue have in common is that they receive their TV pictures from the Angus transmitter, the main TV transmitter for the area, sited near Tealing. I am continuing to pursue the issue on behalf of residents.
I should also add that – aside from this particular reception issue – Digital UK has offered to attend a community public meeting in the West End to update residents on the digital TV switchover as it is now becoming quite close. The organisation has previously spoken to West End Community Council some time ago and I will certainly be taking up their offer as there are clearly a lot of issues residents have with the TV changes that are upcoming.
I recently highlighted complaints from constituents in parts of the West End about reduced and poor television reception in recent weeks, and have since had been inundated over the past week with feedback from people in the West End and from across the city about the issue. Today’s Courier covers the issue – see http://www.thecourier.co.uk/output/2009/04/06/newsstory12908876t0.asp
As indicated in the Courier article, it is very clear that there is an issue about the quality of TV signals for many people – particularly affecting ITV1 and Channel 4 reception and, for Freeview viewers who receive signals from the Angus transmitter near Tealing, also some digital channels such as ITV3.
I had previously spoken with Arqiva, the company that owns and manages TV transmitters across theUK, and, although they accept that there may be some disruption to services nearer to the time of the switch-over from analogue to digital, they assured me that there should be no disruption for Angus and Tay Bridge transmitter’s viewers at the moment.
There is, however, engineering work on-going at the Craigkelly transmitter, resulting in breaks in service and possible poor reception, although only a minority of viewers in Dundee get their TV signals from this transmitter situated in Fife.
However, it is very apparent from the dozens of calls I have received from local people that there is indeed some form of reduced power problem from Angus transmitter resulting in poorer reception on some channels for many viewers.
I have therefore raised the matter with Digital UK, who are charged with ensuring a smooth switchover from analogue to digital only signals, due in our area next year. Given the extent of the TV licence cost nowadays, at the very least people should expect good quality reception, not continual poor pictures or interruptions in programmes.
Interestingly, having been down in Sussex over the weekend, I had a read of the English edition of the ‘Sunday Express’ which led on the very issue of poor TV reception caused by the digital switchover – go to http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/93382/TV-Blackout-Chaos to view.
I have been contacted by a number of residents who had expressed concern about their recent poor TV reception. Most receive ‘traditional’ analogue services from local transmitters at Tay Bridge or Angus, and residents have said they were concerned that this was because of work on transmitters to prepare for the digital switchover, which takes place in the STV North region next year.
I have spoken with Arqiva, the company that owns and manages TV transmitters across the UK, and, although they accept that there may be some disruption to services nearer to the time of the switch-over from analogue to digital, they have assured me that there should be no disruption for Angus and Tay Bridge viewers at the moment. There is, however, engineering work on-going at the Craigkelly transmitter, resulting in breaks in service and possible poor reception, although only a minority of viewers in Dundee get their TV signals from this transmitter situated in Fife.
Further details are available on the UK digital website – go to http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/how_do_i_switch/your_aerial/planned_engineering_works/Live_update.
I would be interested to hear from any other residents who are finding they are getting poor TV signals at the moment because there is something of a pattern with this – and am happy that any resident with such a complaint contacts me at the City Chambers, at my surgeries, calling me on 459378 or e-mailing email@example.com.
I am continuing to liaise with Digital UK and with Arqiva on this matter.
Further to my recent piece about local television, there’s an on-line survey on the subject. It takes only 2 minutes to complete and is available by going to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=ixCl_2fF4PsQpgbQCJ56az5w_3d_3d.
I was pleased to see the Scottish Parliament last Thursday pass the following motion – after considerable debate – on Ofcom’s Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) Review :
“That the Parliament notes that 4 December 2008 is the final date for submissions to Ofcom’s Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) Review, Preparing for the Digital Future;
recognises that, while broadcasting is reserved, there is a need for a healthy, competitive Scottish-based television programme-making sector outwith theBBC, notwithstanding that organisation’s historic, respected and pivotal role in Scottish broadcasting;
recognises the role of STV as the only remaining Scottish-based commercialPSB provider;
prefers Ofcom’s enhanced evolution option with a commercial TV channel continuing to providePSB for Scotland as part of a wider UK network;
recognises that STV’s survival as aPSB provider is at risk in the current economic climate, particularly since ITV is now advocating a single UK-wide brand, and calls on Ofcom to explore all options to ensure that there is PSB competition for BBC Scotland in the nation’s rapidly changing broadcasting landscape;
further believes that all Scottish residents should have access to the full range of broadcasting following digital switchover, and calls on Ofcom to ensure that all relay transmitters are capable of transmitting the full spectrum of free-to-view broadcasting and that the 7th Mux is enabled in Scotland.”
Full marks to Iain Smith, Liberal Democrat MSP for North East Fife who responsible for the final paragraph in the motion being added, calling on Ofcom to ensure that all viewers get the full range of digital channels, whether or not they are served by a main transmitter, and that the 7th Mux is enabled, vital if we are to have local television provision across Scotland.
Also, an excellent contribution from Ted Brocklebank, Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, who said,
“We firmly believe that a digital channel, partly funded by commercials, could also allow for the development of city and local TV, which is widely available throughout Europe, with Spain alone having 1,000 channels. Such broadcasting is also highly successful in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It has been suggested that up to 16 local TV channels could be viable in Scotland, which could provide up to 330 new jobs. However, we think that the Government should urgently engage with Ofcom to ensure that the spectrum is available for the roll-out of a vital new digital service.”
The Fife and Tayside Local TV working group, with which I have taken an active part (click on headline above to view more) has participated in Ofcom’s consultation and we hope that the regulator will respond positively to the consultation responses, the Scottish Parliament’s motion and the calls for local television provision across Scotland – a real plus that could be gained from the digital switch-over.
“Liberal Democrats in Westminster and Holyrood have been actively campaigning to ensure a smooth transition between analogue and digital services.
Earlier this month I gave an update on the blog on a number of Freeview television issues (see http://frasermacpherson.blogspot.com/2008/03/dundee-television-issues-update.html).
With specific regard to the issue of provision of local public service television for Dundee in the future, local MSPs Joe FitzPatrick (SNP, Dundee West), Alison McInnes (LibDem, North East Scotland) and Marlyn Glen (Labour, North East Scotland) all responded positively to my request to sign a motion in the Scottish Parliament on the issue – see below – I note that Nanette Milne (Conservative, North East Scotland) has also given the motion her support, so good to see all-party agreement on this issue:
I recently wrote to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Andy Burnham MP) about the proposed different levels of TV channel provision planned for Dundee and the issue of Local Television for the City in the future. Additionally Lord Provost John Letford wrote to Lord Currie of Marylebone (Chair of the media regulator Ofcom) on the issue.
However, it is further disappointing to note that many Dundonians (along with many others served by relay transmitters) will still get a second class service after the digital switch over, as the Tay Bridge transmitter will not carry all the Freeview services that other transmitters already carry. Digital UK advises that the service from Tay Bridge will be called “Freeview Lite” which really means that it is light of many of the TV and radio stations others already receive – 36 TV and radio stations short to be precise.
Dear Cllr Macpherson
Thank you for your email of 20 December, regarding digital switchover and the Tay Bridge transmitter.
The Government has committed to ensuring that terrestrial analogue broadcasting signals are maintained until everyone who can currently get the main Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) channels in analogue can receive them on digital systems. In fact, 82% of households in Scotland, higher than the UK figure of 73%, can already receive 22 channels including BBC TV services, digital radio and services like E4, More 4 and Film 4. This is a significant gain from the five analogue channels. After digital switchover, 98.5% of UK households (the same percentage who can currently receive analogue signals) should have access to the 3 PSB multiplexes carrying these channels.
However, there are also 3 other commercial multiplexes. After switchover these multiplexes should be available to around 90% of UK households. Extending coverage beyond 90% is a commercial matter in this case and the decision to do this lies with the multiplex operators.
As you know, the TV licence fee is used to fund the BBC, and the principle is that everyone who can receive television signals pays for a licence for this purpose (which allows the BBC to produce programmes that might not otherwise be made, if market forces were the sole factor in play). It is payable in full irrespective of the use made of that service and the quality of reception.
The BBC operates a number of digital services for those who can receive them, and, during the process of reviewing the BBC’s Royal Charter, we did consider a reduction in the licence fee. We decided against this, as it could actually have worked as a disincentive to take up of digital services.
As part of the review of the BBC’s charter, we looked at alternative funding mechanisms for the BBC, and whether the use of a licence fee was still the best option. You may be interested in reading the discussions on this subject in the “Funding” sections of the Charter Review Green Paper (p58-64), available on the Charter Review website at: http://www.bbccharterreview.org.uk/have_your_say/green_paper/gp_funding.pdf.
We decided that for the present, the licence fee was the best option when considering the alternatives. We have committed to looking into this matter again half way through the current Charter (which should be roughly at the end of the switchover period in 2012) as we recognise that the broadcasting landscape is changing rapidly.
A motion has now been placed before the Scottish Parliament encouraging Ofcom to support Local Television in Scotland (click on headline to view it). On a cross-party basis, I approached our local MSP Joe FitzPatrick (SNP) and NE regional members Marlyn Glen (Labour) and Alison McInnes (LibDem) and I am delighted that all three have agreed to support the motion and support the principle of local television for Dundee.
As residents are aware, I have had numerous discussions with Ofcom (the media regulator) about digital TV issues. Apart from the Freeview concerns (click on headline above to read more on these), I have discussed local TV provision with the regulator about the possibility of licences and local feeds from digital transmitters to ensure that Dundee could get another local TV service at some point in the future.
On return to Dundee on Wednesday, I chaired the regional transport partnership board (TACTRAN) meeting in Perth and later attended the City Council’s Development Quality Forum at which the Depute Director of the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (what we used to call the Reporters’ Unit!) spoke. It was extremely informative.
Yesterday, I attended a Digital UK update at Dundee City Chambers on the digital television switch-over, aimed primarily at housing providers. Most of my “digital TV issues” really lie with Ofcom (as previously covered on this blog) but as the organisation responsible for publicising the analogue switch off, I was keen to raise the concerns I have about the assistance vulnerable people (particularly the elderly and disabled).
Although there is assistance in terms of the cost of digital terrestrial equipment and aerial compatibility for elderly and disabled people, the latter aspect does not apply to people in flats, and given the very large number of people in flats and tenements in parts of the West End, this exception is of concern. Many people in tenements have complex communal aerial set-ups (often installed many years ago) and I consider it vital that elderly and disabled citizens get the help they need to ensure they get continuation of their TV services after 2010.
I am pleased to say that Digital UK confirmed that a flexible approach will be taken to ensure all necessary assistance is given to vulnerable people.
You will recall that we corresponded earlier in 2007 regarding my concerns that my constituents served by the Tay Bridge relay transmitter will not receive digital terrestrial television until the analogue switch-off in 2010 in the STV North area.
I had assumed that, at least, the issue would be resolved by 2010, but am very concerned to learn recently that the service provided after the switch-over will be so-called “Freeview Lite” containing only 22 of the 58 channels our main transmitter (Angus – which fails to serve most of my ward area) already carries. I understand that OFCOM has sanctioned a reduced number of relays carrying the full Freeview services and that only 90% of the population will receive the full package. This will be particularly sorely felt in much of Scotland with its more dispersed population and proportionally larger number of relay transmitters.
I would wish to see a reconsideration of the position regarding the services to be carried by Tay Bridge. I am unhappy that the level of service provision outside of the main transmitters appears to have been left to the market-place and therefore the likelihood of the balance of the spectrum being allocated for other purposes such as mobile telephony, rather than the provision of the full digital service for all.
I was also like to see OFCOM at least investigating the possibility of the viability of a local feed to the transmitter. For some time, we had the local Channel 6 station transmitting from the Tay Bridge Transmitter. I understand that if the digital service does not include a local feed, there will be no further possibility of local television production via the transmitter. This would be a great shame, especially given the interest locally on resurrecting a local TV service.
I am raising the matter with colleagues in the Dundee City Council administration but would meantime be grateful for your comments. Many thanks.
Cllr Fraser Macpherson
Councillor for the West End
Convener of Planning and Transport – Dundee City Council
Thanks for your email. You raise two distinct issues which I will deal with in turn.
Unlike analogue TV, digital terrestrial (Freeview) TV channels are broadcast by combining a number of different TV channels into discrete ‘streams’ of digital data. Each of these streams is known as a ‘multiplex’, and can carry between four and nine individual TV channels. As we have explored previously, only 80 of largest transmitters in the UK currently broadcast digital TV, and each transmitter broadcasts a total of six multiplexes.
Three of the multiplexes (known as the ‘public service’ multiplexes) carry digital equivalents of the four main analogue channels, and will soon include Channel Five, as well as digital TV channels including BBC Three and Four, and ITV 2 and 3. These three multiplexes will be broadcast from all transmitters, including Tay Bridge, after switchover, and this will mean that near-universal coverage of over 20 channels will be available (compared to the current near- universal coverage of just the four main analogue channels).
The other three multiplexes (known as commercial multiplexes) carry commercial services such as Sky News, UKTV Gold, and QVC. Ofcom estimates that approximately 90% of UK households will receive these three commercial multiplexes, as well as the three public service multiplexes, after switchover.
There are a number of reasons why coverage of the three public service multiplexes will be greater than coverage for the three commercial multiplexes. The most significant is that the Communications Act requires only that the coverage of the multiplexes carrying the public service channels substantially match the coverage of their analogue services (this we estimate to be 98.5% of the population). We have therefore required that the public service multiplexes be broadcast from at least all the existing 1,154 analogue transmitter sites where this is necessary to match analogue coverage. The same duty is not placed on the commercial multiplex operators upon which the Communications Act places no specific coverage requirements, and these operators have decided to continue to use the existing 80 larger transmitter sites. Ofcom has however required the multiplex operators concerned to increase the transmission powers at these sites in order to increase coverage to approx 90%.
Moving on to provisions for Local TV, I believe that you have already been in contact with Carmel about a local frequency for Tay Bridge and Dundee. The list of 25 locations we published is an initial proposal – we are very much in listening mode at present and are seeking views from interested parties on potential additional locations. As Carmel explained, assessment of additional sites is quite an involved business, so we are asking for some kind of evidence of demand and support for local services from potential operators in those additional areas. Based on the feedback we receive, we will be consulting in the spring on detailed proposals – at that stage it will still not be too late to provide feedback to the process.
I would be happy to discuss any of the above in more detail if you would like to call me on the number below
:: Peter Madry, Senior Associate Technical Advisor, Broadcast Technical Policy, Ofcom
Many thanks for your response, which is appreciated.
With regard to the roll-out of Freeview, whilst noting what you write, it remains in my view highly disappointing that the full Freeview services will not be broadcast from all transmitters. Whilst I note what you write about increasing the power of the main sites, although this theoretically could mean that some of my constituents in the West End of Dundee, presently served by the Tay Bridge transmitter, might be able (after the analogue switch off) to receive the full Freeview facilities from the Angus transmitter, this will, I assume, in no way be guaranteed and some/many will be disappointed (I assume especially those where topography will make picking up a signal from the Angus transmitter problematic). Furthermore, it would involve a change of aerial direction (and aerial?) and in a ward with a very high concentration of tenemental properties and communal aerials, I have doubts as to how many will easily gain from any increase in the transmission coverage from Angus in 2010 onwards.
There is significant local support for local TV here in the Dundee area, particularly given the popularity of the former Channel 6 service from the Tay Bridge transmitter. The City Council Administration group has given its unanimous support for a letter of submission to Ofcom to demonstrate the interest, and this is presently being prepared by the City Council’s Economic Development Department. I have also raised the matter with Angus Council and Fife Council, whose adjacent populations are served by the Angus transmitter and Tay Bridge transmitter too.
Amongst the other issues discussed, I raised the proposal a few of us are keen to progress (with assistance from the University of Dundee) of a youth football group for the West End and the concerns about Freeview provision I raised in my Community Council update (click on headline to view).