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UK Digital Switchover by 2010 “Likely”, Insists Jowell

News, 12 May 2003


The British government’s target of switching off analogue TV broadcasts by 2010 is not only “achievable” – it is “likely”.

So says culture, media and sport secretary Tessa Jowell, who shrugged off the scepticism of most of Britain’s media bosses to insist the government’s deadline for ending analogue broadcasts by 2006 to 2010 can be met (though probably nearer the latter date than the former).

That means all Britons who want to continue watching TV would have to buy a digital television set, purchase a set-top box for free-to-air platform Freeview or subscribe to a digital TV service by this date. Although dTV has taken off rapidly in Britain, around 60% of homes have not yet made the switch.

Jowell, however, remains bullish. “I do believe that switchover by 2010 continues to be achievable,” she commented. “It's certainly achievable; I also believe it's likely, and it remains our policy.”

Her optimism reflects the success of Freeview, which has been taken up by around 600,000 homes since launching late last year.

Others, however, are not convinced. David Elstein, former boss of the smallest terrestrial station Five, recently commented that “the most intelligent independent analysis of the issue sees the first million homes being switched off by 2014.”

Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff