Tuesday, 26 August 2008

News release on the Local TV campaign ...

A News Release this afternoon on local television :


Fife and Tayside Local TV Working Group – a consortium developing local TV in Angus, Dundee, Fife and Perth and Kinross has responded to a recent Ofcom consultation to allocate spectrum for local TV across Fife and Tayside as well as throughout Scotland.

Responding to Ofcom's consultation on the spectrum suitable for local television Cllr Fraser Macpherson, Planning & Transport Convener on Dundee City Council and supporter of the local TV initiative, said. "We are fortunate here in Scotland to have airwaves to spare and it is vital the UK regulator responds to public demands for local TV in Scotland to be made available for all.

"Digital switchover offers a once in a life-time opportunity for Scotland to have local television coverage. We expect Ofcom to ensure the allocation of these airwaves in the most efficient way and for local television to deliver local public purpose by involving local people in broadcasting in ways that bigger media has proved unable to do."

Cllr Macpherson continued “The Fife and Tayside Local TV Working Group is one of many representing all areas of Scotland and calls upon Ofcom to allocate Scotland’s spectrum to allow for a seventh multiplex of channels. This 'seventh mux' would be able to carry five additional channels suitable for local TV as well as support a new Scottish channel if this were required."

The spectrum identified by the UK regulator Ofcom is unique to Scotland and would allow local TV to reach 98% of the population.

Ofcom has been consulting on geographic interleaved spectrum as well as seventh multiplex spectrum, while the former would provide much lesser coverage of around 25-50%.

Digital UK's early response to Ofcom's consultation strongly suggests that spectrum planning for Digital Television Switchover in Scotland actually ended on 12th August – nine days before the consultation deadline invited local TV's response on 21st August.

Dave Rushton, Director on the Edinburgh based Institute of Local Television, added: "There are serious concerns the regulator has made commitment ahead of the consultation closing, decisions that would remove from Scotland five separate digital TV channels – channels that offer tremendous capacity for a variety of new services that can be made more relevant to Scottish audiences and local areas than many of the channels emanating from London."