HC Deb 21 January 1998 vol 304 c538W
Mr. Llew Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will list the number and location of sites in Wales that will provide digital television services; and if he will indicate how many television viewers in Wales will not be covered by digital service transmitters. [23825]

Mr. Fisher

The BBC and the Independent Television Commission's plans for the launch of digital terrestrial television services are based on 81 transmission sites in the UK. In Wales, the following sites are included in the launch plan: Wenvoe, Blaen Plwyf, Llanddona, Moel y Parc, Aberdate, Kilvey Hill, and Pontypool. It is not possible to provide a precise number of television viewers in Wales who will not be able to receive an adequate digital service from these transmitters until the transmissions begin. However, the ITC estimates that approximately 766,000 people in Wales (26 per cent. of the total population of Wales) may be unserved from the 81 site plan.

Following the completion of the launch phase of digital terrestrial television, the BBC and ITC, in consultation with my Department, will determine how best to extend digital television services to those remaining unserved, whether by additional terrestrial transmitters or by other means.

Mr. Brady

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if the Government will subsidise the provision of set-top boxes to allow(a) the elderly and (b) the disabled to continue receiving television signals after the cessation of analogue broadcasts. [23686]

Mr. Fisher

Digital terrestrial broadcasting has yet to begin and the Government have no plans to subsidise the provision of set top boxes. However, multiplex licences granted to British Digital Broadcasting plc by the Independent Television Commission contain conditions relating to the promotion of the acquisition of digital receivers and this may include direct subsidy. Analogue terrestrial transmissions will not be discontinued until the spread of digital receivers throughout the population is as universal as that of analogue terrestrial services now.