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Digital Broadcasting

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what access residents of Blaenau Gwent will have to digital terrestrial television; and when analogue broadcasting will be withdrawn from viewers in Wales. [114807]

The Government issued a statement on 30 January 2003 on the principles on which planning the use of the UHF spectrum after switchover will proceed. The Spectrum Planning Group within the Digital Television project is proceeding with this planning work. It will allow more detailed advice to be given on the digital television service that will be available in Blaenau Gwent and elsewhere on switchover by the end of 2004.The Government are committed to ensuring that terrestrial analogue broadcasting signals are maintained until:

Everyone who can currently get the main public service broadcasting channels in analogue form can receive them on digital systems,
Switching to digital is an affordable option for the vast majority of people.

When the Government first announced these criteria in September 1999, we said that digital television switchover could start to happen as early as 2006 and be completed by 2010. We remain convinced that this is achievable.