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405-Line Television

Volume 987: debated on Thursday 3 July 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what sum would be saved by the British Broadcasting Corporation if the present 405-line television transmitters were discontinued at the end of the current year and 1981, respectively.

In my reply to a question from my hon. Friend on 20 May I announced a timetable for the closure of the 405-line television services of the BBC and the IBA, beginning in 1982 and phased over a period of about four years. This timetable has been dictated by the need to minimise any inconvenience to the remaining 405-line viewers and depends on the completion of the current phase II engineering programme to extend the 625-line television services of the two broadcasting authorities. This phase II programme should be complete by about 1984.I understand from the BBC that currently the marginal cost of maintaining its 405-line television network is about £300,000 per annum, and that this figure is likely to reduce, towards the end of the closure period though to an extent which it is difficult at this stage to predict.