Press release

Digital TV switchover hits the halfway mark

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The TV switchover hits a milestone today with more than half of UK homes having completed the move to digital-only TV.

Homes across the country are switching from analogue to digital TV making Freeview channels available to millions of people for the first time.

Today more than four million households in the West Midlands, Yorkshire, Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme make the switch to all-digital TV, taking the UK total to 17 million homes or 63 per cent.

The switchover, which is being led by Digital UK, is due to be completed next year.  It will free-up valuable spectrum - the airwaves on which all wireless communications rely - for new services such as next generation mobiles and wireless broadband.

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said:

“Switching to digital TV is the biggest project in UK broadcasting history and has been a real success.

“The project is on-time and has run brilliantly smoothly.  Switching to digital TV provides people with more channels while freeing up valuable spectrum.

“Releasing this spectrum will enable mobile companies to grow and meet the growing demand for smartphones.”

Arqiva, the mast operator, is replacing analogue equipment at 1,154 sites across the country, which involves 1,200 man-years of engineering work.

The four remaining regions to switch next year are London, the south of England, the north east of England and Northern Ireland.

The BBC-run Switchover Help Scheme has installed digital equipment for almost one million older and disabled people so far.

Notes to Editors

Spectrum is the airwaves on which all wireless communications rely - everything from TV and radio to mobile phones and sat navs use it. Spectrum has become essential to modern economies but it is also limited in supply, which makes it highly sought after.

Switchover has been completed in Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, as well as the West Country, West, Granada, Central, and Yorkshire TV regions in England. The process will continue in each TV region until 2012.

The switchover to digital TV is being led by Digital UK and more information can be found on their website.

For more information on the Switchover Help Scheme visit their website.

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