Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


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

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