Hope for flat dwellers’ digital

With reference to Robert Mayes’ letter (MW October 7) and the subsequent correspondence about digital services for people living in flats, there is good news for both Mayes and thousands like him.

There is a simple, cost-effective way of providing residents of blocks of flats with access to the full range of digital services – both terrestrial and satellite. The challenge facing property owners and landlords is straightforward: to meet residents’ demands for access to digital services, at the same time as enhancing building services.

To find a solution, two key questions need answering: what digital services do my residents want and what is the most cost-effective solution?

The latest subscriber figures demonstrate that what the majority want is as much choice as possible.

Some 1.8 million households (82 per cent of all digital subscribers) have chosen digital satellite, compared with 440,00 subscribers to terrestrial digital. A cost-effective solution must therefore provide residents with access to both terrestrial and satellite services. Anything less will fail to satisfy demand.

Such a solution already exists. The Integrated Reception System (IRS) has a communal aerial that gives residents of a block the freedom of choice already available to people in detached homes, as well as adding tremendous value to the building services.

IRS distributes all receivable broadcast services to every resident in a block, giving them the freedom to choose which, if any, they want to subscribe to.

IRS is a design concept rather than a proprietary product, and many specialist companies around the country can offer a design and installation service.

The Confederation of Aerial Industries, the regulatory body for the aerial industry, can supply details of qualified companies. Similarly, Sky Homes – an organisation run by BSkyB – offers free advice and recommends suitable installers. In many cases, it can even help with the costs.

Astra can provide detailed information about the design and installation of IRS.

With the Culture Secretary Chris Smith asking for the public to be given the facts about digital, rather than confusing messages, the information above will hopefully help residents of flats everywhere to get the digital service they want.

Mike Chandler

Managing director

Astra Marketing

Hemel Hempstead

Hertfordshire

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