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Screens go blank as BFBS TV switches off transmitters.

Byline: Nathan Morley

THOUSANDS of residents across Cyprus are mourning the loss of BFBS TV, which have switched off their analogue transmitters for the last time.

Despite being designed exclusively for British service personnel, the channel was received in many districts, including Larnaca, Limassol and Ayia Napa, from masts on the British bases.

In recent years, there had been a roaring trade in illegal decoders and the sale of booster systems, enabling non military residents to tune into TV favourites such as Coronation Street, East Enders and The Bill.

The station, which BFBS had dubbed 'the family channel', also featured sport, drama, comedy, films, news and children's programming.

The Episkopi transmitter, on channel 56, with overspill into Pissouri, Channel 68 in Akrotiri and both Dhekelia transmitters fell silent on Monday.

In a written statement, BFBS said that there was no longer any requirement for the old analogue broadcasts of BFBS TV, and that transmitters were old and would be expensive and unnecessary to replace.

"Now that the work to provide multi-channel BFBS television to entitled personnel in Cyprus is complete, there is no longer any requirement for the old analogue broadcasts of BFBS."

BFBS also insisted that the termination of the service was necessary to protect TV rights by making sure the programmes cannot be viewed by 'unentitled people'.

"I know this will be very unpopular with the small number of non-entitled people who have had the benefit of 'overspill' from the BFBS transmitters," said Helen Williams, Controller BFBS TV, "but I'm afraid the fact is that they are not entitled viewers."

Last month, it was revealed that 30 broadcast employees from the BFBS radio division were given redundancy notices, and speculation continues regarding the future of the popular Radio 2 network, which is rumoured to be earmarked for closure.

Both BFBS TV and radio are operated by the Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC), which is a British registered charity.

Copyright Cyprus Mail 2008

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Jan 8, 2009
Words:333
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