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Kiruna, 16 August 2005
A couple of years ago I went on a holiday to Sweden (part of a research project on the transition to digital television). But when I went to Kiruna, I got a shock: there was no TV here. I was seriously confused. So I asked the locals, and they told me they didn’t have TV and had never had TV. TV was a mass import from Britain; it never caught on here.
But then I looked more closely. It’s not that there are no TVs in Kiruna; there’s just that the local TV company, Television Kiruna (TVK), does not broadcast in Kiruna. TVK is a regional company owned by the national Swedish TV company, Sveriges Television (STV). STV owns the national TV channels in Sweden, including Channel 4 and the news and current affairs network, News for Sweden (Nys).
If I were British, I’d be going ballistic. I think it is outrageous that Britain is being kept from seeing the programmes I am interested in – the ones that I am interested in because they are British. But this isn’t happening here.
My disappointment was somewhat mollified. The reason for the lack of British TV is that Kiruna and the surrounding villages are too far north to be economically viable for STV. According to STV, the population of Kiruna is only about 6,000, so STV’s TV licence fee (the one that pays for all British television) comes to a bit less than a fiver a month.
A local company, TVK, is now running Channel 4 in Kiruna. So, if you want to watch the BBC or Channel 4 in Kiruna, you have to use the internet.
The Internet Service Provider (ISP) that delivers the internet is Avinix, run by a Brit, called Paul Rosenborough, and he’s the one 0b46394aab