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    26 January, 2006


    I brought up the question of access to digital TV in the Valleys in the Assembly again yesterday.

    Q7 Leighton Andrews: What discussions has the Minister had with UK Government Ministers regarding digital television reception? OAQ0558(CWS)

    Alun Pugh: Although broadcasting is not a devolved matter, I am in regular discussion with the UK Government and colleagues in the Office of Communications on a range of broadcasting issues, including access to digital television.

    Leighton Andrews: I appreciate that analogue switch-off in Wales is only three years away, but many of my constituents still feel that they are deprived, understandably, because they cannot receive Freeview. In fact, that is the case not just in my constituency, but in many of the Valleys. I urge you, therefore, to make representations to the BBC and others to see what can be done to bring the proposed Freesat scheme into operation much more quickly.

    Alun Pugh: You rightly point out that areas such as the Rhondda have a complex topography. That makes them great areas for activities such as mountain-biking, but it makes television signals difficult. Until we get to the switch-over, when the release of the analogue spectrum for digital signals will make the prospect of much wider availability of Freeview a reality, you are right to point out that many people will rely on satellite coverage. That is Sky satellite at the moment, but there will be great interest indeed when the Freesat project comes on stream.

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

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