FREESAT DECISION FROM SCOTLANDS AUDIENCE COUNCIL.
Audience Council Scotland
The Audience Council for Scotland has asked me to write to you to express its strong support for the Trust's provisional conclusions on the proposals for a national satellite-based free-to-view digital service ("Freesat").
The Council believes that the introduction of such a service should be an urgent priority for the BBC and in particular welcomes the fact that access via "Freesat" would be on the basis of a one-off initial payment, with a guarantee of no ongoing subscription charges.
Reception difficulties from analogue transmitters, and concern about the quality of reception after the switch to digital, have been recurring topics at the Council's public engagements in recent years.
Members believe that the proposed "Freesat" service would provide a valuable alternative means of access to BBC services for households currently experiencing difficulties with terrestrial reception, analogue or digital, including potential viewers of the planned Gaelic Digital Service.
The proposal will also provide a means of access to Freeview for households otherwise unable to do so until digital switchover, and for any households which continue to experience reception difficulties after switchover.
There would be particular benefits, in the short term, for households in the Dumfries area served by the Sandale transmitter, for some of whom BBC Scotland opt-out services are currently available only on analogue. In the longer term, the proposal will maximise the number of licence payers in Scotland to whom the benefits of the BBC’s digital services will be available.