Local Freeview for all
In Parliament, MP Ian Stuart has put down an early day motion stating that he:
"... congratulates Ofcom in finding a means to deliver local television to every household across the UK on Freeview; and looks to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to introduce a licence for the provision of local public service television during the rollout of digital switchover."
This is backed by a group, United for Local Television, who are demanding that at switchover that Freeview channel 6 be allocated to a local channel with local news, local programming and local advertising.
Section 244 of the Communications Act 2003 gives the Culture Secretary the ability to enact a Local Digital Television Order which would roll out local TV services across the UK.
Who are United for Local Television?Capital TV, MATV, SIX TV, York TV, Norwich TV, EBS Newmedia, Northern Visions/NvTv, Association of Community Television Operators (ACTO), Institute of Local Television, Mimac-Rushes, Fife and Media Access Projects Scotland, Peter Williams Television, Rural Media Company, West Midlands, Somerset Film, Southwark TV & Community TV Trust, Station House Media Unit, Aberdeen.
Is this a good idea?There are a number of problems with this proposal. Firstly, Ofcom owns no bandwidth to allocate to such a selection of channels.
It would be hard to cheaply replicate such channels on alternative platforms such as digital satellite and cable. Also, "local" is a bit of a problem term, as the area covered by transmitters do not follow political boundaries, but geographical ones.
Quite where the money for such a network of channels will come from is unclear, given that ITV1 is cut costs by removing a similar provision from their channel.