§ Mr. Shersby
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when it is intended to close down the 405 line VHF television transmissions in the frequency bands 41–68 MHz and 174–216 MHz; what is the cost of providing transmissions on these frequencies; what percentage of monochrome licence fees it is estimated are received from viewers still using this system; and if he will reconsider whether the use of these frequencies for this purpose should continue, in view of the fact that the remainder of the spectrum is heavily congested.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
On the first and last parts of the question I refer my hon. Friend to the replies I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) on 20 May and 3 July.—[Vol. 985, c.93; Vol. 987, c. 663.]
I understand from the BBC and the IBA that they estimate that the marginal cost of maintaining their 405-line television transmissions is approximately £300,000 and £500,000 a year respectively; these costs are likely to reduce, though to an extent which it is difficult at this stage to predict, towards the end of the closure period.
Information about the number of viewers who are using 405-line television receivers only, and hence about the proportion of monochrome licence fees received from such viewers, is not available, but we think that it is fairly small.