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Dundee LibDem councillor takes Freeview issue to the Prime Minister

May 1, 2006 8:00 AM
Digital Terrestrial TV - but not for many Dundonians until 2010

Cllr Fraser Macpherson takes Freeview issue to the Prime Minister

Dundee City Council Lib Dem Group Leader, Fraser Macpherson, has today (Monday 1st May) written to the office of Prime Minister Tony Blair following complaints from many constituents councillor in his Dundee Tay Bridges Ward are being denied digital terrestrial television for another four years.

Earlier this year, Cllr Macpherson raised concerns with the Department of Culture, Media & Sport about what he has termed a "Freeview lottery", pointing out that many Dundee and North Fife citizens are being denied access to Freeview digital TV services. In response, the Minister for Creative Industries and Tourism has confirmed to Cllr Macpherson that services will not be extended to include them until the Grampian TV "analogue switch-off" date of 2010.

Many of Cllr Macpherson's constituents in the West End and City Centre of Dundee have long expressed concern about the continuing lack of digital TV coverage served by the Tay Bridge transmitter at the south end of the Tay Bridge.

Speaking on local radio stations Radio Tay and Wave 102 today, Cllr Macpherson commented that, following the Minister's response being highlighted, many residents had contacted him to complain about the situation. Some 35 000 people in Dundee and NE Fife are served by the transmitter which continues to carry only analogue signals.

Many residents in the Charleston area of the City also cannot receive digital terrestrial signals as the Camperdown relay transmitter, like Tay Bridge, carries analogue signals only.

Cllr Macpherson said that, whilst the accepted that the final digital switchover plan had been based on the technical data available at the time, the whole "analogue to digital" process had not been thought through by government early enough, which had resulted in this "postcode lottery" for the next four to six years across the UK.

"I have now written to the Prime Minister pointing out what a mess the government's digital switchover project has proved to be. I have told him that it is simple unacceptable that its pot luck depending on your postcode whether or not you will get Freeview this side of 2010 or 2012, and the date it eventually arrives depends where you live in the UK," commented Cllr Macpherson.

Cllr Macpherson said he had advised the Prime Minister that many residents feel that it is completely unfair that many TV licence payers are simply not getting the digital services others receive.

"I have said to Mr Blair that its unacceptable that the extended period leading up to digital switchover means that viewers can wait up to five years more until they will be able to receive the digital service others already enjoy. It's a postcode lottery and the government has to carry the can for not thinking the digital issue through properly in the early stages," said Cllr Macpherson.

You can read more about this story by following the link below to the article in the Dundee Courier.

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