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Cwmbran home owner ‘furious’ because his TV can’t pick up Welsh channels

04 Feb 2022 5 minutes Read
S4C Headquarters in Carmarthen. Picture by Rhodri ap Dyfrig (CC BY-SA 4.0)

A Cwmbran home owner is “furious” because his TV can’t pick up Welsh TV channels.

Rhodri Norris, who recently moved into a new build home in the Torfaen town receives Bristol West England region channels instead.

The Welsh learner, who is not able to view channels such as S4C and BBC Wales on his television, has blasted Open Fibre Network Limited, which is responsible for the TV and broadband infrastructure.

This has meant that Rhodri has been unable to watch Welsh Government Covid-19 briefings on his TV during the pandemic.

He said he was told that the company had switched the satellites to receive English channels after some customers complained about not being able to do so.

According to Rhodri, the issue has not been fixed because the “technical team is trying to figure out how to not lose the English channels in Wales.”

In a statement to Nation.Cymru, Jason Roissetter the firm’s Fibre Director has said they are “aware” of the issue and that their “priority is always to provide residents with great quality service and as many channels as possible” and that the current set-up “met that criterion”.

But he added that the firm is “taking this matter very seriously and is working to resolve this issue”, and said that the television aerial will be “repositioned” in order for that to happen.

Rhodri Norris told Nation.Cymru: “I have recently moved into a new build home in Cwmbran, but I am unable to receive Welsh channels. Instead, I receive Bristol West England region channels, with not a single Welsh channel being picked up.

“My nearest transmitter is in Pontypool, about 5 minutes down the road and I quickly concluded that our satellite dish was pointing at the Bristol transmitter several miles away.

“The problem we have is that our tv and broadband infrastructure is run by Open Fibre Network Limited, and so we have a communal dish. After contacting OFNL and complaining about the lack of Welsh regional BBC channels and S4C, they sent an engineer.

“I was then told that people in the area had complained about not being able to receive English channels, and so OFNL soon turned the satellite to receive English channels.

“This makes me furious, but I am seemingly unable to do anything about this. I am unable to watch Welsh sport and what little specific programmes we have on the BBC, but more importantly in this current climate, we cannot receive Welsh government information from such channels.

“I am also a Welsh learner who likes to watch S4C to help practice. You’d think that OFNL and the people who complained would accept that when you are in Wales, you receive Welsh channels, but this is seemingly difficult.

“As of this moment, it has been two weeks with no results. I am being told that the technical team is trying to figure out how to not lose the English channels in Wales.”

‘Statement’ 

In his statement to Nation.Cymru, Jason Roissetter the firm’s Fibre Director, continued:  “The Fibre to the Home network providing voice, fibre broadband and television services to the South Sebastopol Development, is owned and operated by Open Fibre Networks Ltd. (OFNL).

“Residents at this development receive television services through a communal television aerial and satellite dish array situated at a centralised location on the site.

“This type of installation is quite normal on many new housing and apartment developments, as it negates the need to have television aerials and satellite dishes mounted onto individual homes.

“OFNL are aware that residents are currently unable to receive regional and Welsh television channels, including S4C and regional news. OFNL is taking this matter very seriously and is working to resolve this issue.

“By way of explanation, the television aerial at Cwmbran receives its signal from the Mendip transmitter in Somerset, which provides a wide range of television channels. Initially, when the communal television aerial was installed, the transmitter in Pontypool was only receiving a limited number of channels in comparison to the Mendip transmitter.

“OFNL’s priority is always to provide residents with great quality service and as many channels as possible, and at the time, the Mendip transmitter met that criterion.

“To enable residents to receive regional and Welsh channels, the aerial will need to be repositioned to receive its signal from the transmitter in Pontypool. After a recent investigation, it is apparent that the Pontypool transmitter has been upgraded and can now provide residents with a good choice of television channels, both Welsh and English.

“Taking this into consideration, OFNL has today conducted a survey and established that the television aerial can be repositioned to receive its signal from the Pontypool transmitter.

“It will take a couple of weeks to make the necessary arrangements to reposition the television aerial. We will shortly write to residents and business owners to inform them of the date of the planned change.

“All residents and businesses that watch Freeview, will need to retune their televisions on the day the television aerial is repositioned as the Mendip signal will no longer be available.

“OFNL would like to thank all residents for their patience whilst we look to implement a solution to this issue over the coming weeks.”


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Calum
Calum
3 months ago

I live in Cwmbran as well and can’t get Welsh channels. The best we were able to get was a patchy signal of ITV Wales, but we can’t get S4C.

Broadcasting needs to be devolved ASAP, it’s not right that Welsh people are unable to recieve Welsh programming.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
3 months ago
Reply to  Calum

Freesat works for us and I can see England from our garden. I get 186 channels of total rubbish but the Welsh ones are in there.
You didn’t think all those dishes on the pensioner flats were Sky, did you? We can’t afford that.

Gwyn Meredith
Gwyn Meredith
3 months ago

This country’s English-language TV service is not popular with much of the population because of the poor quality of some programmes and disruption to UK programme schedules. Hundreds of thousands of viewers along the border and South coast choose not to watch BBC and ITV Wales. Remember that choice of viewing is no longer restricted to viewers in these areas.

Quornby
Quornby
3 months ago

I wonder how they cope with France/Germany cross border broadcast issues? No problem at all is my guess.

Craig
Craig
3 months ago

It’s what happens when you vote for parties that view England as the main priority.

Ann
Ann
3 months ago

It is all available on iPlayer! Including a lot of S4C archive material!

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
3 months ago

Same problem East of Mynydd yr Hob in the North East. BBC North West only, if you want “local” news. Thank the Lord for S4C on iplayer.

Hogyn y Gogledd
Hogyn y Gogledd
3 months ago

““OFNL are aware that residents are currently unable to receive regional and Welsh television channels,”

But they can. It just happens to be English regional.

Erisian
Erisian
3 months ago

I live in near Llandrindod Wells. We do get S4C

BUT… We get only the PUB MUX in freeview – which means we get only half the channels that most viewers in the ‘Union’ get to watch.

I have tried to find out why we treated a second class citizens, but it’s too difficult and opaque to discover why, so like everybody else we just hand over huge amounts of largely uneccessary money to Sky.

Grayham Jones
3 months ago

That’s disgusting it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
3 months ago

Same problem on the north coast.

Michael
Michael
3 months ago

This is really stupid. The company responsible for putting up rooftop areal & satellite dishes should have directed them to transmitters in our country. Not to England. They were wrong to do that.

For those who want South West variations have the option of sky & Freesat where all BBC regions are provided & some ITV regions.

Rob
Rob
3 months ago

Quote: “I was then told that people in the area had complained about not being able to receive English channels, and so OFNL soon turned the satellite to receive English channels.” This isn’t exactly something thats up for majority rule. If you live in any part of Wales then you have a right to receive Welsh TV. If you don’t like it, then move somewhere else. For example if I went to live in Yorkshire, and complained about having to what ITV Calendar or BBC Yorkshire, the locals would have every right to tell me to get lost. Furthermore I’ve… Read more »

Gwyn Meredith
Gwyn Meredith
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Even before we had the extra channels that came with Freeview large numbers of viewers tuned in to English transmitters. because of the poor quality of some local programmes on BBC Wales and the disruption that they caused to UK programme schedules.

Alan
Alan
3 months ago

I’ve lived in Cwmbran all my 65 years, we have come a long way since the days when the news service for Cymru was shared between a studio in Cardiff and another in Bristol, you would end up flitting back and forth receiving short news items about both areas either side of the Severn. This changed with the advent of Harlech television with the introduction of stand alone news services. Alas, the reception was so bad here in Cymru we had no choice but to tune into the Mendip transmitter. Oh what joy when first Sky then cable tv came… Read more »

Lee Vaughan
Lee Vaughan
3 months ago

That’s 2 mins of my life I won’t get bk. S4c lol you can have it. I get it on virgin,don’t watch it.

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