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Digital Transmitter Sites

Volume 532: debated on Thursday 8 September 2011

9. What recent discussions he has had with television distribution companies on the variation of digital transmitter sites across the UK. (70596)

I meet the main parties of the digital switchover programme regularly to review progress. The distribution of digital transmitter sites is part of the digital TV switchover process, which is progressing well and is on track.

I thank the Minister for his correspondence with me on this matter, but the fact remains that following the digital switchover, my constituents who receive their television signal from the Milburn Muir transmitter get an inferior TV service. Will he please commit to looking at ways to incentivise companies to provide an equitable service? Alternatively, will he consider a grant scheme for my constituents, who would have to fork out something in the region of £200 to get the same service?

The hon. Lady and I have been in extensive correspondence on this issue, and she is a formidable advocate for her constituents. I hope she will come to the video relay service conference on 15 September. Perhaps we could talk about this issue there and arrange a meeting to discuss it further.

I am looking forward to switching from having four channels to having 15 channels to view in two months’ time, when the Tacolneston transmitter switches over. One thing that concerns me, however, is that ITV3 will not be available on the relay transmitter from Aldeburgh, which is a great shame. Licence fee payers should be the ones who choose the channels they receive if they are not to have the full range of services.

I am afraid that about 10% of the population does not get the full range of services, but the core 15 channels. As I have said, that is a commercial issue for the people who operate the transmitters in this country. That issue certainly concerns some Members of Parliament, and if my hon. Friend wishes to join the hon. Member for West Dunbartonshire (Gemma Doyle) and me for a meeting to discuss this further, I would be happy for her to do so.