BBC to Switch Off Analogue Telecasts Under Industry Scheme

17 February 2004

The BBC could switch off its analogue broadcasts within three years in a bid to tempt wavering Britons to adopt digital TV.

Under plans put forward by the Digital Television Group (an industry body open to companies involved in some aspect of dTV broadcasting), terrestrial station BBC2 would be the first to move exclusively onto digital, followed by BBC1 a few months later.

The staggered analogue switch-off would take place region by region, and could begin by 2007. The scheme -- which is expected to take about five years to complete -- may even be tested this year in parts of Wales.

Once most homes have converted to digital, ad-funded terrestrial operators ITV and Channel 4 would also become digital-only, according to an unnamed industry insider (who apparently forgot to reveal what would happen to remaining analogue station Five).

The government is sticking by its target of analogue switch-off by 2010, but insists it will not take this step until 95% of homes have digital television. This goal has been undermined by research showing a large body of so-called 'refuseniks' who have no plans to convert to dTV.

The DTG believes a gradual analogue switch-off will encourage many to take up digital TV. However, it remains to be seen whether ministers will be willing to accept the political consequences of depriving large sections of the British public of two of their TV channels.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff