Memorandum submitted by Mr Norman Semple
Thank you for your reply to my letter 4 March
2001. I understand that the Media Committee is about to review
digital broadcasting again. As you are aware from my previous
letter I am not impressed by the BBC's apparent lack of vision
in this matter. I found it unbelievable that they originally took
a decision to restrict UK regional variations by Post Code. ITV's
recent introduction of Satellite broadcasting included these and
I applaud them for their decision.
Transmission from Astra 2 is mainly restricted
to the UK. Astra 1 covers most of northern Europe. Sky News is
the only English language programme using Astra 1.
I was recently watching a programme from a Swiss
broadcaster, in German, about the history of Prague. Apart from
being interesting and informative the benefits to its tourist
industry was also obvious. It struck me that the BBC Archives
must be full of similar programmes that could be transmitted via
Astra 1. English is the first option as a second language for
most of Europe, There would appear to be no great difficulty or
cost in setting up a general programme for broadcasting from Astra
1. The benefits to the UK Tourist Industry could be enormous.
Perhaps your Committee would consider raising
this with the BBC.
7 January 2002