You'll recall I have again raised the issue of the lack of digital terrestrial TV signals for many in the West End - click on headline above to view my letter to the Minister sent recently.
I have now had a reply as follows :
Dear Cllr Macpherson,
Thank you for your email of 27 May to Shaun Woodward, concerning digital television in Dundee. I have been asked to reply.
Current UK Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) coverage is not indicative of how things will be after switchover. Transmissions are currently broadcast in both analogue and digital. The digital signal is being broadcast at low power, in order to prevent interference with the analogue transmission. At present DTT is available to around 73% of UK households and it is not possible to extend it significantly beyond present levels without first switching off the analogue transmissions. The Government has committed to ensuring that terrestrial analogue broadcasting signals are maintained until everyone who can currently get the main PSB channels in analogue can receive them on digital systems.
After switchover, all transmitters will broadcast digital signals and digital terrestrial coverage will be extended to reach the same level as current analogue coverage. If you can receive analogue terrestrial broadcasts through an aerial now, you should be able to receive the digital signals through an aerial then.
The order in which the regions switch was determined by Ofcom, the broadcast regulator, working with spectrum planners. This order was partly dictated by the need to coordinate frequency use with neighbouring countries (this is the reason why the east coast and Northern Ireland will switch later). Ofcom also considered the need to avoid interference with maintained analogue services in one region whilst converting another (the same frequencies are used for different services in different parts of the countries). Other factors that had to be considered by Ofcom include the timescale, allowing four years to complete the process, and the conversion of over 1150 transmitters by highly specialised engineers with a great deal of equipment.
I hope you will understand that the process of developing the digital terrestrial network is a massive undertaking, both physically and logistically, which involves replacing equipment on many transmitters in the UK, and that it is not possible to alter the timetable or order.
Central Information and Briefing Unit Department for Culture, Media & Sport
And my further response :
Dear Mr Slide
Many thanks for your e-mail.
Whilst appreciating the complexity of the task, I feel your response has not fully addressed the specific issue as to why none of the relay transmitters were given consideration for early transmission of digital.
I do appreciate the point that doing this for all relay transmitters in advance of the analogue switch off was not technically possible, but the 20 relay transmitters serving the largest populations (including Tay Bridge, for Dundee and North East Fife) could surely have been considered without interference problems. This would have helped reduce the number of people who feel aggrieved that they cannot receive digital terrestrial TV.
I would be grateful if you could advise specifically why this did not happen, with specific reference to the Tay Bridge transmitter.
Cllr Fraser Macpherson
It has now been suggested by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport that I raise this aspect with the regulator, OFCOM, and I'll do this.