There’s really no need for this 

5 April 2004

BBC and C4 face threat of analogue charges

The scenario: The pace of digital takeup has probably now slowed down again after a promising period late last year with the sales of ‘Freeview’ boxes, so Ofcom decides that something else needs to be done. A suggested solution: Why not charge the BBC and Channel 4 for analogue broadcasting rights? I say: Why not announce a firm timetable for the switchoff of the analogue transmitters (on an individual channel/region basis, to make it relatively painless) and just get on with implementing it?

And the subject of free to air digital satellite transmissions has reared its head again. I’m not an expert but I’m a bit perplexed by the notion that “It said only 85% of the country was ever likely to be covered by the digital terrestrial service and that a satellite service should be developed to fill in the gaps”, since we were told that the digital terrestrial coverage would easily match the existing analogue signal coverage (maybe even improved due to the better range of digital signals) when analogue transmissions are replaced with a digital equivalent?

There’s no getting away from the fact that the digital satellite service is provided by private companies and they need paying for the privilege of carrying channel(s), so unless the government is into the business of long-term broadcasting subsidies (probably not…) the terrestrial transmitter network should be the preferred option with perhaps some form of licence fee rebate for the very small number of people who genuinely can’t receive free-to-air terrestrial signals and have to pay for digital satellite subscription (if such a solution is workable). Clearly something will have to be done if this government is serious about promoting digital TV.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

Report an error


David Hastings Contact More by me

A member of the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System
Liverpool, Thursday 19 May 2022