HC Deb 25 October 1968 vol 770 c404W
Mr. Dobson

asked the Postmaster General if he will make a statement on pay television.

Mr. Stonehouse

In their Further Memorandum on the Report of the Committee on Broadcasting, 1960 (Cmnd. 1893), the Government of the day announced their decision to permit an experiment, which would last for some two to three years, in pay television transmitted solely by wire, but expressly without guarantee that on the conclusion of the experiment a general or permanent pay television service would be authorised. Mr. Bevins granted licences to three companies in 1964; but two of them later withdrew.

The remaining company, Pay-TV Ltd., began their experimental service in Southwark and Westminster in January, 1966; and in Sheffield in November, 1966. In May, 1967, the company asked my predecessor to consider sympathetically their proposal that the services should be expanded on a non-exclusive footing. Since then, there have been a number of exchanges with the company. In August, 1968, they suggested that the service should be expanded to cover 250,000 houses in London, as against the figures for the experiment of 8,000 in Southwark and Westminster and 1,800 in Sheffield.

The Government have reviewed these proposals in the light of the company's representations and of experience of the service. As a result of this review, and bearing in mind wider economic and social considerations, I have decided that no extension would be justified, and that in the circumstances the experiment should be terminated.