§ 10. Mr. Mayhew
asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications if he has now considered the project submitted to him by the hon. Member for Woolwich, East and Greenwich Cablevision Limited for the transmission by cable of locally-initiated television programmes, free of advertising, in the Woolwich area; and what decision he has reached.
§ Mr. Chataway
I am willing in principle to license this project on an experimental footing until July, 1976, subject to certain conditions. I shall also be 440 willing to consider licensing a few other similar limited experiments without advertising. I will with permission circulate details in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Mr. Mayhew
Is the Minister aware that that is a very welcome reply and that, for the first time, there will be genuine do-it-yourself local television which will be run extremely cheaply, without advertising? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that whether it succeeds or fails, this is an experiment which is well worth trying and that my constituents will do their best to make a success of it?
§ Mr. Chataway
I am grateful for what the hon. Gentleman has said. I believe there could be value in one or two limited experiments of this kind to test whether a purely local television cable service of this sort might in time meet a need.
§ Mr. Gregor Mackenzie
Is the Minister aware that we on this side of the House welcome the decision he has made, not least because of the strong public service content which we hope will be embodied on the lines of the suggestion of my hon. Friend? Is the Minister also aware that we are delighted to hear that he hopes that these experiments will increase so that we can make a proper judgment on this and other similar facilities that are offered?
Following are the details:The conditions are:Finance. No public money will be provided for applicants, who will be required to pay a licence fee sufficient to cover the Ministry's expenses in granting the licence and supervising the experiment.Programme standards and technical quality of the service. Applicants will be required to satisfy the Ministry that programme standards and technical quality of service will be acceptable. All programmes must be of a kind specially designed to appeal to the local communities in the areas served. No advertising and no sponsored programmes will be allowed.No more than six experiments would be authorised and, if a greater number of applications is received, applicants may be invited to consider forming consortia.