Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has written to the head of Ofcom to ask how much it would cost to make BBC Alba available on freeview before the intended review date of 2010.
MR Gibson says clarity is needed after a rumour circulated saying that is would cost millions of pounds to do so.
In the letter to Lord Currie of Marylebone (chairman of Ofcom) Mr Gibson asked how much the cost would be and how it was broken down. He also inquired what technical adjustments would be required to extend the new station's reach to the bulk Scots and other interested viewers.
Mr Gibson said…
"There needs to be a definitive answer from Ofcom into what the actual cost of moving BBC Alba to freeview. To me the figure which has been banded about seems excessive. However it is hard to know. That is why the answer from an impartial body is of paramount importance."
"I have received near cross party support for my parliamentary motion which calls for BBC Alba to be made available on freeview (As yet no one from the Liberal Democrats has signed the motion). It shows that there is a strong will from nearly all political strands in Scotland that there needs to be a change. I am sure that those involved in the channel and who at present cannot watch it will also agree. It is in the interests of the channel and the language that BBC Alba is made available to many and early."
Copy of Rob's motion and supporters as of 27/10/08
S3M-02511 Rob Gibson (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish National Party): BBC Alba - Speed Up Freeview Option— That the Parliament welcomes the launch of the BBC Alba Gaelic television channel; wishes that all those involved will make the service a success; notes the potential that it has to boost the profile of the Gaelic language while informing and entertaining people throughout the country; however also notes, with disappointment, the fact that this service is not intended to be available through Freeview until after the digital switchover and that this will be subject to a review by the BBC Trust, and calls on the UK Government and BBC to speed up this process so that the channel has the chance to be watched by Gaels and non-Gaels throughout the nation who possess a Freeview box but do not have cable nor a satellite television.
Supported by: Jamie Hepburn, Christine Grahame, Michael Matheson, Robin Harper, Christina McKelvie, Bob Doris, Andrew Welsh, Bill Kidd, Dr Alasdair Allan, Ted Brocklebank, Roseanna Cunningham, Hugh Henry, Kenneth Gibson, Stuart McMillan, Sandra White, Gil Paterson, Mary Scanlon, Dave Thompson, Shirley-Anne Somerville, Aileen Campbell, Ken Macintosh, Jamie McGrigor, Brian Adam, Alex Neil, Nanette Milne, Bashir Ahmad