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Digital UK Welcomes switchover timetable

# 16 September 2005, 13:42 by Nemesis

Click here to go to the DigitalUK site

DigitalUK, the organisation responsible for co-ordinating the UK’s switch over to digital television today welcomed the Government’s announcement of the switchover timetable, which confirmed that the whole of the UK will have digital television by 2012. At the same time, it announced its programme to inform the public about digital switchover and begin the extension of the digital broadcast infrastructure.

Digital UK’s announcement followed the formal confirmation of the switchover timetable in a speech made today by Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport at the Royal Television Society Convention, in which she also confirmed the Government’s commitment to providing support to the over-75s and those with severe disabilities to help them switch over to digital television.

The Secretary of State confirmed that the extension of digital television coverage will occur in stages, ITV region by ITV region, between 2008 and 2012. The first to start will be the Border TV region towards the end of 20081 .

Digital UK, previously known as SwitchCo, is the independent, not-for-profit organisation that will manage the technical roll–out of digital television in the regions across the UK and ensure that the public is aware and prepared for switchover. It is funded by the broadcasters and is working with the Government, Ofcom, consumer groups and industry2 to deliver a co-ordinated conversion to digital.

As part of this process, Digital UK announced the launch of a national information campaign to raise public awareness of switchover, and it will begin communicating directly to people in every ITV region three years before switchover is scheduled to start in each part of the UK. This will include writing to every household in each region twice during the switchover period. In addition, Digital UK will be working with local councils, community and charity groups to provide help and advice to those who might need it. This will complement the Government’s commitment to helping the over 75s and the severely disabled through switchover.

Today, the organisation launched a website, http://www.digitaluk.co.uk, which is a user-friendly guide designed to answer viewers’ questions about the switchover process and it also launched an information line – 0845 6 50 50 50. A separate freephone (0800) number will be made available for those eligible for special assistance. Additionally, a digital “tick” mark will be used to certify information, goods and services designed to help consumers through digital switchover.

Digital television is already a big success in the UK, as 63% of households have already chosen to receive multichannel TV3 – the highest penetration in Europe.

Ford Ennals, Digital UK’s Chief Executive, said: “The Government’s confirmation of the timetable is great news as the public can now look forward to digital television for all. Digital UK is here to help and we’ll be working hard over the next seven years to explain what switchover involves and what choices consumers have in order to get these digital services.”

Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: “The task of implementing switchover will be for Digital UK to lead. They will be available to offer help and advice to all who need it for the seven years between now and the end of 2012. I would like to thank Digital UK, as I know they will be working tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition.”

Click here to go to the DigitalUK site

1 The schedule for when switchover starts in each of the regions throughout the UK is:
Border – 2008 (year switchover begins); West country -2009; ITV Wales -2009; Granada – 2009; Grampian – 2010; ITV West – 2010; Scottish TV – 2010; Central – 2011; Yorkshire – 2011; Anglia – 2011; Meridian – 2012; Carlton/LWT – 2012; Tyne Tees – 2012; Ulster – 2012

2 Industry meaning broadcasters, the digital TV platforms (cable, satellite – e.g. Sky, Freeview and DSL), TV manufacturers, retailers and aerial installers

3 Ofcom, Digital Television update, Q2 2005

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