The British government has bowed to pressure from broadcasters and regulators and begun planning a timetable for the switchover to digital television.

Culture, media and sport minister Tessa Jowell has written to the terrestrial broadcasters -- the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five -- asking them to propose a schedule for the phasing out of the analogue signal.

The government has so far stuck to its target of analogue switch-off between 2006 and 2010 without finalising a process by which this will be achieved -- to the increasing frustration of many in the media industry. Communications regulator Ofcom and the BBC have both called on the government to begin preparing the country for the transition to digital.

In response, Jowell has told broadcasters to "work harder" at promoting digital television so that penetration rises to a level that would allow analogue switch-off. Around 50% of UK households currently access dTV signals.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff