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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 November, 2004, 12:47 GMT
Church services beamed into homes
A radio
The trial licensing regime will run for 12 months
Northern Ireland churches will be able to broadcast services to housebound members under a new radio system.

The year-long trial will mean those who are unable to attend church can tune into proceedings from the comfort of their homes.

Ministers took part in a workshop on Thursday to see how the Community Audio Distribution System (CADS) will operate.

Broadcasting regulator Ofcom had proposed to allow local religious organisations to operate within the UK Citizen Band allocation.

A number of organisations will be able to transmit services through CADS.

The move follows a period of public consultation undertaken by Ofcom.

The evidence of demand for such arrangements has arisen primarily from within religious communities and this is therefore where we expect the majority of use to arise
Ofcom

In the past, some individual churches have broadcast services to members of their congregations. However, these were understood to be unlicensed.

Ofcom said that at present, some housebound religious congregation members who wished to hear services were unable to do so.

'Similar purposes'

It said it was aware there was a demand for such a facility.

The priority was to provide a means whereby reasonably priced equipment could be purchased and used with little technical knowledge, it said.

"CADS would, in practice, constitute simple, short-range and inexpensive wireless public address systems," said an Ofcom spokesman.

"The evidence of demand for such arrangements has arisen primarily from within religious communities and this is therefore where we expect the majority of use to arise.

"However, other community groups could also use the arrangements for other similar purposes."

Ofcom said it received 26 responses during the consultation period, "all expressing support for its introduction and some of these expressed a number of concerns and questions".

The licensing regime began on 1 November for an experimental period of 12 months.




SEE ALSO:
Church faces CB radio fine
18 Jul 02 |  Northern Ireland


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