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2. Introduction

In 2005, the South and West Dorset Broadcasting Action Group (SWEDBAG) approached the BBC to ask for assistance in resolving reported issues with reception of terrestrial broadcasting services in South and West Dorset.  As a first step, SWEDBAG produced a questionnaire to ask for viewer/listener perceptions of difficulties with reception of analogue TV, Freeview, analogue radio and DAB.  The BBC assisted with the fine detail of this questionnaire to ensure that the results were most useful to the next phase of research.  The Dorset Association of Parish and Town Councils (DAPTC) then distributed the questionnaire to all town and parish councils in West Dorset and made it available online.  The councils sent the questionnaire to most households in West Dorset.  Also Weymouth & Portland Borough Council sent them to a statistically significant survey group in Weymouth & Portland.  Nearly 4,000 questionnaires were completed which is statistically significant in number as there are around 46,000 households in west Dorset. However it should be borne in mind, that the sample may not be statistically truly representative across the population as those with difficulties are perhaps more likely to complete the questionnaire than those without difficulties, but nevertheless, the results will give a good indication of major problem areas.

As a first step, the BBC analysed the data collected from the questionnaire (SWEDBAG pre‑processed the data to ensure the respondents remained anonymous) to overlay it on predicted coverage maps (including indications of locations of satellite usage).  This report replicates this analysis and adds more detail about the predicted coverage of analogue TV, radio and DAB. 

This report then goes on to detail the findings of a coverage and reception survey for analogue terrestrial television in the Weymouth and Dorchester area.  Coverage was very much in line with expectations in these areas.  A significant proportion of reported reception difficulties are thought to be linked to the condition of receiving aerials and down leads etc. But also there are a significant number of homes that are not taking benefit from the better signals provided by local relays built to overcome coverage difficulties (probably for historical reasons).  Specific recommendations are made as a result of this survey on ways of improving reception in all the areas visited.  The report then indicates more general guidance on how to improve reception.

Note that this document is intended as guidance for households on how they can generally overcome typical reception issues in the Dorset area.  It may also be of benefit to broadcasters and Digital UK in highlighting some of the issues with existing installations that may need to be addressed in going digital.  Because of the effort involved, it can only be considered a small sample of the problems likely to occur.  Because of resourcing issues, this can only be considered a case study and we could not be able to resource similar detailed studies in other areas of the country.


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