The Authority’s Stations: introduction 

5 May 2023

The Authority's Stations

The Television Act of 1954 requires the Independent Television Authority to plan and provide national television services. The Authority appoints independent companies to provide programmes for the various areas of the United Kingdom and is responsible for securing proper balance and standards in programmes and advertisements. As part of its function, the ITA builds, owns and operates all the Independent Television transmitting stations.

This section shows the growth of the national coverage of Independent Television during the past seven years, the varied problems which the Authority’s engineering staff had to overcome in bringing the service to each area of the country, and the technical details of each of the twenty-two transmitting stations. The stations are numbered in the order of their construction.

A map for each operating area shows the reception which should be available from each transmitter, on the following definitions:-

PRIMARY SERVICE AREA Within 2mV/m median contour

Where most viewers, unless they are situated in particularly unfavourable positions, should receive a consistently satisfactory service.

SECONDARY SERVICE AREA Within mV/m median contour

Where a substantial proportion of viewers should receive a satisfactory service, but in a few unfavourably situated places reception may be poor.

FRINGE AREA Within mV/m median contour

Where acceptable reception should be secured in many locations although this service may be subject to some interference from time to time.

Some viewers living in favourable positions outside the Fringe Area may also receive a satisfactory service.




The spread of Independent Television

is progressively traced in these nine maps. The Television Act was passed in July 1954 and the Authority first met in August. The service began from Croydon on 22nd September 1955. The service areas shown in the final map include 94-95 per cent of the population.


The Growth of Coverage


End of year Cumulative population coverage (thousands) Percentage of total UK population %
1955 12,290 24
1956 30,116 59
1957 33,666 66
1958 38,900 76
1959 44,366 86
1960 45,016 88
1961 48,587 94
1962 estd. 50,303 95


A chart of the data in the table above


The Growth of I.T.A. Homes


End of year Cumulative ITA homes (thousands) Percentage of all TV homes Percentage of all homes
1955 495 30.8 12.5 
1956 2,656 53.3 25.8
1957 4,684 69.2 39.6
1958 6,540 75.9 46.6 
1959 8,606 80.8 55.2
1960 10,292 87.0 65.4
1961 11,282 88.3 68.9
1962 estd. 12,300 90.0 73.0


A chart of the data in the table above


Aerial view of a television transmitter

An aerial view of the erection of the new Croydon aerial tower


A Transdiffusion Presentation

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Liverpool, Thursday 20 June 2024