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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star,) – British High Commission has come to the rescue of Honiara viewers by offering the BBC channel for the relay of World Cup matches.

The offer was quickly taken up by Solomon Telekom, ending days of discomfort and anger by city residents.

Telekom yesterday confirmed the high commission had offered the use of the British Government sponsored BBC VHF Television channel to be used to relay the games.

The high commission’s decision ended a three-day stand-off between the Television Board and Solomon Telekom.

Earlier, Solomon Telekom insisted that it would televise the games live only on the newly created UHF channel.

The decision had angered many Honiara residents, who complained of poor quality pictures and signal since the trial of the UHF channel in recent weeks.

The TV Board had ordered Solomon Telekom to screen the matches on one of the VHF channels but Telekom refused, saying that it would go ahead to screen the games on a UHF channel as there were no VHF channels available.

[PIR editor’s note: UHF and VHF are systems used in the transmission of electronic signals to devices, like television sets, that can receive the signals and process them to reproduce sounds and images. Although UHF signals do not have the range capabilities of VHF channels, they provide less interference overall. For more, go here.]

Honiara residents have greeted the British High Commission’s decision with pleasure with one fan saying that the decision goes well with what many Solomon Islanders like.

In its meeting yesterday, the TV Board had further ordered Solomon Telekom to switch the games back to a VHF channel.

"We again told them to go back to VHF...what they must understand is the board has the power and they should act accordingly," one of the board members told the Solomon Star.

In thanking the British High Commission, Solomon Telekom said it would show the World Cup matches on both the VHF (BBC) and the new UHF channels.

Meanwhile the TV board has denied claims that it had approved the use of a third channel to Solomon Telekom.

In a letter to the General Manager of Solomon Telekom, Chairperson of the TV Board, Naerie Alamu, said the board did not agree with the claim by Telekom that they approved the use of the third channel.

She said there was no official correspondence from the TV board dated 3rd June 2004 to substantiate that claim.

"The claim you referred to as approval was not by the board but only the then Permanent Secretary who merely conveyed his personal agreement to your proposal," Ms Alamu said in a letter to Robinson yesterday.

She added that the former Permanent Secretary’s letter was made without the board’s knowledge and approval.

June 13, 2006

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