World Heritage Village enters the digital age

20th March 2001

Residents in New Lanark World Heritage Village are celebrating a world first. Thanks to sponsorship from TV giants ONdigital. Robert Owen's famous mill community is the first village in the world where every resident has access to digital television and the Internet.

Until now, the 180 villagers in New Lanark have been left behind as the entire television industry moves over to digital TV. Because the village is one of Scotland's top tourist attractions and a nominated World Heritage Site, there are strict rules preventing the residents installing their own aerial or satellite dish. The situation is made even more difficult because the historic community is hidden away in a deep gorge, carved out over the centuries by the fast-flowing River Clyde. Until now, residents received a poor analogue signal from an old communal aerial system, installed by the villagers themselves over 20 years ago.

Last year, villagers met to see what could be done to improve the poor quality of the pictures. Their enquiries attracted the interest of ONdigital, and a unique partnership began. After two weeks' work in the village, everyone has access to over 50 TV channels and ONdigital's new TV Internet system.

Residents are delighted to have crystal clear television at long last. Jim Paterson, Chairperson of the New Lanark Village Group said:

Everyone I've talked to in the village is amazed by the improvement. After four years of waiting, we have finally managed to do it. We are a small community and could never have afforded to do it ourselves. I think the work must have cost over £10,000.

The village is protected by an independent charity, New Lanark Conservation Trust. The Trust operates an award-winning visitor centre and hotel in the village, and uses the profits to work towards the restoration and revitalisation of the community. Jim Arnold, Director of the Trust, said:

The response from everyone in the village has been great. We even have digital TV and Internet access in our hotel, allowing our guests to get tourist information or send e-mails to friends back home from the comfort of their own room.

Stuart Prebble, Chief Executive of ONdigital said:

We're proud to have helped to create the world's first digital village in New Lanark. At a stroke ONdigital has catapulted the people of New Lanark into a world-leading community - everyone with access to digital TV and to the internet through their TVs.

A short introduction to New Lanark World Heritage Village and ONdigital follows. Further information is available from Richard Evans, Development Officer, New Lanark Conservation Trust.

New Lanark Conservation Trust

New Lanark Conservation Trust is the independent charity responsible for the restoration and revitalisation of Robert Owen's famous mill community in South Lanarkshire. Adopting a pioneering approach to heritage conservation, the Trust operates an award-winning Visitor Centre and Hotel in the village, and all profits are re-invested back into the community. The village is still a living community, with around 180 residents living in beautifully restored sandstone tenements. New Lanark is now a nominated World Heritage Site, and is one of Scotland's top tourist attractions with around 400,000 visitors a year.

New Lanark (by Lanark) is signposted from all major routes (M74/M8). One hour's drive from Edinburgh and Glasgow. Nearest railway station is in Lanark (1 mile).

ONdigital is the world's first commercial digital terrestrial TV platform, providing digital TV through an aerial, with no dish or cable needed. It is jointly owned by Carlton Communications plc and Granada Media PLC. ONdigital launched in November 1998 with 30 channels. By December 2000 it had over a million customers, 54 channels and had introduced a wide range of interactive services, including digital text services, games, Pay per View, interactive advertising and programming.

In September 2000 it launched ONnet, providing Internet access through the TV. By December 2000 ONnet had 100,000 users. Almost 2,500 people work for ONdigital at its offices and call centres.