Cable ties 

23 July 2015

F20150623Cable television. In theory it should work. It worked in the US, it worked in Belgium. But in the UK, it never seemed to take off. Of course, in the US, with vast distances to cover and crowded airwaves, cable even before pay-TV was successful. In Belgium, with tiny distances to cover and a modern post-war telecommunications infrastructure, cable again was successful.

The issue in the UK came down to costs. There was a lot of distance to cover for the cable companies, but not vast enough that there were any substantial towns without over-the-air broadcasts available. The telecommunications infrastructure had been allowed to fall behind and was then sold off to get it off the government’s books, so there was no way of using the existing services to provide television.

Lord Hunt of Tanworth’s report basically says that cable television would be a good idea and should be encouraged, but the government mustn’t pay for it. It suggests area franchises and ways of making it easier to make money. But the investment costs would still be huge. Still, it might work, as long as nobody invents video rental stores and then cheap satellite television in the meantime.

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