Big Eye, January 17, 2017

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Of all the things that need sorting out with the UK’s crumbling infrastructure, I believe fiddling about with radio reception is one of the last things our Government needs to concentrate on. Almost every aspect of life is currently under attack for a variety of reasons from underfunding to a lack of professional personnel but I hadn’t appreciated how important it is to radically ‘update’ our FM transmitters and get us all switched over to digital DBM. Norway has just switched off its FM transmitters and we are destined to enjoy the same treatment within a few short years because there are myriad benefits in terms of 
choice and quality for listeners, according to the ‘experts’!

Out here in the sticks, away from the seething metropolises of the likes of Swaaaffham or Downham these experts might find our digital reception is dramatically poorer than they’ve been used to in their cities and although they may be preparing to stick to their glib promise about nationwide coverage, you can be pretty damned sure nothing is about to change. Those of us who have been persuaded to buy into this crummy digital world soon realise that drop-outs and sudden loss of signal are a daily if not hourly occurrence and without doubt most of us end up switching back to FM once the reality of this digital novelty fails to deliver a spotless and constant signal.

The Smart-Alec city dwellers who promote these projects are invariably urban creatures with little or no interest in the minority carrot-cruncher world of ours and assume that everyone is like them and their insular little ‘towny’ environment. We don’t count or appear on their radar, which is evidenced by the fact that we also don’t enjoy speedy or even mega-speedy broadband in our villages, we don’t enjoy a reliable mobile phone signal let alone 3/4/or 5G accessibility and many of us can’t even get a decent Freeview television signal.

I’m pretty sure it’s not a deliberate policy by Government to keep us limping along behind the rest of the population but having abandoned us to the whims of commercial telecom giants they could hardly expect them to cough up to install masts for areas with only a few hundred potential subscribers. It is effectively a postcode lottery and as second-class citizens is hard to see why we should be expected to carry the same burden of local taxes when we are not experiencing the same level of amenities…public or commercial!

No doubt someone from the borough or county council is charged with pressuring these providers into sticking to their agreements to ensure decent local coverage for digital services although there is precious little evidence that things are getting better judging by my personal experience of the currently pathetic state of the connections in my village.

Maybe it’s just around the corner? I fervently hope they significantly improve things before they switch off our FM transmitters..otherwise our darkness will become just that little bit darker!