§ Lord Mulley
asked Her Majesty's Government:
When they expect a decision to be announced on the contract to provide three channels of direct broadcasting by satellite now under consideration 1244WA by the IBA and whether in reaching a decision due regard will be taken of (a) the provision of capability in due course to utilise the five channels allotted to us by treaty; (b) the maximisation of employment in the United Kingdom and of the technology developed by the IBA and others; (c) the capability to provide television programmes by subscription and also by payment for individual programmes; and whether it is possible to give the date such programmes could be available.
The Minister of State, Home Office (The Earl of Caithness)
We expect the IBA to announce its decision on the award of contracts for a three-channel satellite service before the end of the year. The Government have undertaken that the two additional channels available to the United Kingdom under international agreement will not be allocated within three years of the start of the IBA's DBS Service. The Government have said that they will expect the IBA to pay due regard to the United Kingdom economic interest in making its decision on the award of its DBS contract. Programme contractors will be free to fund their services by means of advertising, subscription or a combination of both. No firm date can be given for the start of a service.