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Want digital TV? Get a Sky dish, Culture Secretary tells Cumbrians

Cumbrians who don’t receive all TV channels after the impending digital switchover can always put up a Sky dish, Culture Secretary Andy Burnham said.

Andy Burnham photo
Andy Burnham

Mr Burnham said it was not a priority for public money to be spent on infrastructure to ensure solely commercial channels were made available to everyone.

His comments came after it was revealed that just 53 per cent of viewers in the Border region will be able to receive all 48 Freeview channels when the switchover happens next year.

Speaking to the News & Star, Mr Burnham said: “In all parts of the country people have the chance to have whatever channels they want. The question being, should I commit public funds to make purely commercial channels available to the public and that is not, I do not think, a priority for public spending. People pay the licence fee and they get the core offer of the channels and that will be available.

“There are always other options, if I was living in an area where I cannot get the full set of channels then I will have Freesat or Sky or a different option. In the region when Border switches over in a few weeks time, Sky is the default option on the scheme.”

Earlier this week, he came under fire from opposition MPs who claimed he had not done enough to protect the interest of 2.5 million households which would not receive the full 48 range of channels on switchover. They argue rural communities will suffer because ministers refuse to make sure all broadcasters using the digital service Freeview offer a full service for every home.

Figures released by Ofcom show 53 per cent of households in the Border TV region will be able to receive 48 Freeview channel after the switchover. However, 99 per cent of households will be able to view approximately 20 channels in Cumbria.

Copeland MP Jamie Reed, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on digital switchover, said: “Population count is a key factor in every issue affecting Cumbria.

“Television channel availability will never be a priority to rank alongside health, education and policing and it is undoubtedly right that this is the case. In any event even the most basic freeview offering is an undoubted improvement over the previous analogue offering.”


Have your say

"How many people are really bothered about watching 48 channels anyway?"

But people would like to receive BBC which they pay for!

Without having to pay for new boxes/Antenna ect

Just another example of goverment interference and incompetence!

Posted by Tom on 28 October 2008 at 16:37

i cant afford it, cos i workfull time to pay for benefits

Posted by dekko on 28 October 2008 at 16:36

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