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Uhf Relay Station Building Programme

Volume 576: debated on Sunday 18 February 1996

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What are the conclusions of the review of the UHF Television Relay Building Programme.

The announcement made on 16th April 1991 by the then Home Secretary, my right honourable friend the Member for Mole Valley (Kenneth Baker) (House of Commons, Official Report, column 131). explained that the Government had agreed with the BBC and Independent Television Commission that the programme of building 25 UHF relay stations a year to extend UHF television coverage would be maintained until 1996, when its further continuation would be reconsidered. We have now undertaken that consideration in close consultation with the Independent Television Commission and the BBC, who have jointly administered the relay building programme to date.We have decided, after careful consideration, in the knowledge that UHF television coverage now extends to 99.4 per cent. of the population, and in the light of plans for the introduction of digital terrestrial television, that the formal programme of building 25 relay stations a year should cease. The self-help television scheme, established by the Government in 1980 to assist those communities not eligible for assistance under the relay programme, will remain. The BBC and ITC will continue to give free technical advice to those seeking to establish such schemes in the future. In addition, the BBC and Independent Television Commission will continue to promote improvements in the quality and range of television transmission. They will provide free technical advice to the public on television reception and will in exceptional circumstances consider constructing new television relays to extend terrestrial services.