LONDON: Already beset by a bust bank and the government's 'mislaying' of millions of personal records, the long suffering British public must now confront a plethora of new digital terrestrial channels and allied services.
These, to quote UK communications regulator Ofcom
, will "benefit citizens and consumers" (each, apparently, a different species).
According to an Ofcom consultation document issued Wednesday, the proposed upgrade will create extra capacity allowing HD television channels on free-to-air digital platform Freeview
as early as 2009.
It will be achieved without using additional radio spectrum, a limited and therefore valuable resource which the government intends to sell-off when digital switchover is completed in 2012.
Ofcom paints a rosy picture of benefits all round ...
- Viewers, who will be able to access an array of new channels and services via their existing TV aerials;
- Broadcasters, who will be able to provide a greater range of services while continuing to deliver the channels that are currently available on Freeview;
- The UK economy, by making better use of the spectrum reserved for broadcasting. It is calculated that the upgrade could bring benefits upward of £4 billion ($8.26bn; €5.59bn) to the UK economy over twenty-five years. [Or around one tenth of the estimated cost to taxpayers for bailing-out failed bank Northern Rock.]
The extra capacity is intended for public service broadcasting, and organisations with PSB status (the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five
) - are invited to state how they would use the extended capacity.
To view the full consultation document, click here
Data sourced from Ofcom (UK); additional content by WARC staff