UK Media Watchdog Schedules Digital Switchover

11 February 2005

The UK's broadcast regulator has revealed its proposed timetable for the great analogue TV-signal switchoff.

Ofcom says the change will take place over four years, beginning 2008 in the west of the country, and will follow the ITV commercial television regions, finishing in London. The BBC and commercial broadcasters Five and Channel 4 will follow the same blueprint.

At present, digital signals reach 73% of all UK households, but it is not possible to extend digital reach without switching off analogue transmissions.

  • Meanwhile, leading UK consumer group, Which? claims TV viewers collectively face a bill of up to £3 billion ($5.5bn, €4.3bn) to make the switch.

    According to Which?, it could cost up to £300 per household to convert the remaining ten million UK homes currently outside the reach of digital signals. But the government maintains the cost of conversion is just £50, the price of a Freeview digital set-top box.

    Says Which? senior policy adviser Allan Williams: "The government must keep its promises and should not switch off analogue TV unless the digital TV option is available and affordable to all."

    Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK) and; additional content by WARC staff