HOLYHEAD residents, whose television reception has been disturbed by a TETRA mast, will have to pay out to resume normal service.

The terrestrial trunked radio mast, which allows for complete police coverage of the country, was installed on the roof of the town´s police station shortly before Christmas. Ever since, around 200 people in the vicinity have been affected by poor-quality television reception, including Jack Taylor of Newry Street. He said: "Since the mast went up, it has affected all the terrestrial channels - we are paying the licence fee for nothing. "Some people have gone to the extreme of buying a satellite dish or a digital box. He added: "It is a real nuisance, and it is really hard to find somebody to take responsibility for the problem - I was told that there would be no special exception made for the people of Holyhead."

Residents have been advised that to get their sets in proper working order, they will have to buy television filters - which they will also have to pay to maintain over time.

Holyhead mayor, Jeff Evans, is outraged. He said: "These filters cost between £15 and £40, and then there´s the cost of having someone fit them, as well as having to maintain them.

"These TETRA masts are causing inconvenience to innumerable people in the vicinity. "Why should householders have to resolve a problem not of their making? "I don´t see why they should have to pay out money for anything." He added: "It may not be illegal to make people buy these filters but it is certainly morally wrong."

An Ofcom spokesperson said that, while he could not comment on specific cases, a number of similar instances had arisen around the UK. He said: "We understand that the situation is very frustrating. "In most cases, the interference occurs because the householder has a television booster, as a result of being in a low reception area. "This can be cured by fitting a filter, which cost around £17 last year, plus the fitting costs." He stressed that it was not the legal right of the householder to receieve good television reception, and that the onus was on them to correct the problem. He said: "The company that is rolling out the TETRA masts, Airwave, is transmitting in accordance with their licence. "It would be an unfair financial burden on them to have to pay for television filters. "It is an unfortunate impact, but ultimately the viewer is responsible for their own reception."

Email: claire.hart@nwn.co.uk



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Februar 2005

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