§ Mr. Butcher
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will announce the names of successful applicants for licences to take part in pilot schemes of subscription television over cable systems for an initial period of two years.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
In reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford (Mr. Shepherd) on 10 November 1980—[Vol. 991, c.3–6], I invited applications for licences from those broadcast relay operators wishing to take part in pilot schemes of subscription television to be submitted by not later than 31 December 1980. I have now considered the applications received and have decided to license the following broadcast relay operators to provide 11 subscription television services for an initial period of two years in the following areas:
British Telecom Milton Keynes Greenwich Cablevision Limited Greenwich Philips Cable Television Limited Northampton Tredegar, Gwent. Radio Rentals Cable Television Limited Chatham, Gillingham and Rochester, Swindon Rediffusion Limited Burnley Hull Pontypridd Reading Tunbridge Wells
I am considering three other applications for schemes in London, Sheffield and Wellingborough, on which I shall reach a decision when further information on the proposed programming is available.
The licences issued will include the general requirements I set out on 10 November.283W
I will consider towards the end of the two-year period whether or not subscription television should continue and expand on a permanent basis and, if so, what conditions, including a levy for the benefit of the film industry, should be imposed. The pilot schemes will depend heavily on cooperation from the film industry, both here and abroad, since their product is likely to form a large part of the programmes to be provided. A successful cable subscription television service could be to the mutual advantage of the public, the film industry and the cable operators.