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BBC Scotland Accused of Reducing Analog Strength to Force Digital Switch

An article in The Scotsman said Tavish Scott, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Shetland accused the BBC of "deliberately reducing the signal strength of its television reception on Shetland in an effort to force islanders to switch to its new digital service."

The article, BBC accused of reception 'plot', quoted Mr. Scott saying, "I am aware that atmospheric conditions can cause reception problems, and this summer Shetland has certainly enjoyed excellent weather of the type often blamed for just such problems. But such has been the sustained extent of the reception problem that there are worries that it has been exacerbated by a reduction in the strength of the BBC1 signal. This then leads on to worries that this could be part of a deliberate campaign to encourage people to move over to digital TV. If this is the case, it would be unacceptable."

The article concluded with a statement by a BBC spokeswoman. "These theories are completely unfounded and there has been no reduction in power at any UK analogue transmitter, including those in the Shetland Islands, nor are any reductions planned."

It will be interesting to see if similar accusations emerge in U.S. as broadcasters build out DTV facilities and increase power levels. There have been numerous reports about DTV signals interfering with analog TV signals since DTV broadcasting started, particularly during periods of enhanced propagation due to atmospheric ducting near and over water.