UK’s Progress Towards Digital Switch-over “Astonishing”

The UK’s culture secretary, Tessa Jowell described the country’s progress towards digital Switch-over as “astonishing”. The statement was prompted by a new BBC report, “Towards Achieving Digital Switch-over” which confirmed that the country could switch over to digital broadcasting by 2010. The new BBC report has similar findings and recommendations to the Ofcom paper we covered last month.

There are some caveats contained in the BBC document, as there are several issues that need to be straightened out – but if the industry and the Government work together, then the 2010 date should be achievable. If left to market forces, it may take until 2013 for 95% of the country to be ready.

Issues that need to be addressed cover areas like ease of recording from digital broadcasts, telling unconverted households about digital television and simplicity of use for new services.

Tessa Jowell said in a statement responding to the report:

“This Government is absolutely committed to working with the industry to achieve digital switchover. The potential rewards, including more choice for consumers and more space for new services, are too great for us not to be.

“The fact that half of homes in the UK now have access to digital TV shows there is a considerable appetite for the product out there. This provides a solid foundation for continuing the drive towards full switchover.

“Of course there are obstacles along the way, many of which are highlighted in this report. We are working closely with stakeholders to determine the actions needed to overcome these in the journey to switchover. This report will help us focus on the challenges ahead.”

UK Government’s Digital Television site

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?