Milton Keynes - Communications and Media

Communications and Media

Milton Keynes has two commercial radio stations, Heart Home Counties covering Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire and MKFM, which started in June 2011 covering Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas. BBC Three Counties Radio is the local BBC Radio station, covering Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, but has different programming from the Bow Brickhill transmitter at breakfast. CRMK Online is a voluntary station broadcasting on the Internet.

For television, the area is in the overlap between the Oxford and the Sandy transmitters and so receives BBC South and BBC East, and ITV Central and Anglia. Signal quality is weak in many areas due to distance and "terrain shadow". It was for this reason among others that Milton Keynes has one of the first Cable TV networks in the UK. However, the cable network is now ageing and in need of modernisation to cope with the imminent digital TV switchover; many residents have already opted for roof-top aerials and satellite dishes. All homes in the post-designation and/or post expansion areas of Milton Keynes are already on-net cable homes – but (as of Jan 2011) is analogue only. Virgin Media, which leases the cable network from Openreach until 2012, have yet to announce any plans for the service thereafter. The digital switchover for the Sandy transmitter took place in two phases over March/April 2011.

Milton Keynes has two free-to-residents local newspapers, the Milton Keynes Citizen, which is twice-weekly in some areas, and the MK News, a weekly.

In the early days of land-line broadband, parts of Milton Keynes were so far from the BT exchanges as to have a poor or no service. Recent work by BT to enhance its network (including FTTC and FTTP – BT Infinity) should see the issue resolved for up to 33% of customers before end of 2012 – but the Eastern & Western Expansion Areas, plus rural exchanges such as Woburn Sands are in the "final third of roll-outs", meaning upgrades there won't occur until the 2017 time frame at the earliest.

A survey in spring 2011 reported that the performance of the broadband-over-3G service provided to customers in Milton Keynes was the slowest of the towns/cities surveyed.

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