The BBC and IBA will start to close down their 405-line VHF television services in 1982 and the closure will be phased over a period of about four years. This follows the international decision about the future of Bands I and III made at the World Administrative Radio Conference, Geneva, last year. As far as possible the two broadcasting organisations plan to close down their 405-line services in Bands I and III at the same time in particular areas, although this will not be possible everywhere since the BBC have 110 transmitters on 405-lines while the IBA have 47.
Stations to be closed earlier in the programme will be those in areas where there is good coverage from the UHF 625-line services. The last stations to be closed will be some of the high-power main stations in areas where 625-line coverage is less complete. At least two years notice will be given in any area before closedown, with wide publicity. The BBC and IBA engineering information services will advise those affected on alternative means of reception.
A further relay station building programme will extend UHF coverage to groups of less than 500 wherever it proves reasonably practical for this to be done. In practice the broadcasters will try to provide stations for groups of 200 or more people and the first of these stations is expected to be built in 1984.
The Home Secretary has agreed that small groups who will not benefit from further relay stations will be able to set up small transmitters at their own expense. The broadcasters will give assistance to such groups to plan the small transmitting stations and will check that they will not cause interference to existing or planned stations. Those schemes which receive approval will be licensed by the Home Office. To help such groups the BBC and IBA are jointly preparing a booklet 'Self-help television for small communities' which will be available in July.