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Digital Broadcasting

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 18 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Culture. Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the percentage of residents in (a) north west England. (b) Cumbria and (c) South Lakeland who are able to receive digital audio broadcasting on terrestria' transmitters. [119254]

This Department does not hold these figures. They are held separately by the BBC and Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB). According to the BBC and DRDB:


  • (a) North west England: approximately 75 per cent. of the population is currently reached, (expected to rise by end of 2004 to about 85 per cent.);
  • (b) Cumbria: no coverage at present;
  • (c) South Lakeland: no coverage at present, (but expected to reach half the population by the end of 2004).
  • Commercial Radio

  • (a) North west England: approximately 75 per cent. of the population is currently reached;
  • (b) Cumbria: approximately 33 per cent. of the population i currently reached;
  • (c) South Lakeland: There is limited coverage, but detailed information on population coverage is not available.
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the level of take-up of digital television services has been from 1998 to the most recent date for which figures are available, broken down by region. [119648]

    This information is not available currently. Subscriber figures for the take up of digital television services are not available on a regional basis, as the data is commercially sensitive and therefore confidential to the pay television companies. However the Office for National Statistics hope to be able to produce figures on the level of take up of all digital television services on a regional basis in the future.

    Digital television receiving platformPossible viewing householdsActual viewing households
    digital terrestrial television (figures based on core coverage from main six digital multiplexes)17.5 million (73 per cent.)1.4 million (5.7 per cent.)
    digital satellite (figures do not take into account planning restrictions or restrictive covenants)23.5 million (98 per cent.)7.36 million of which: 6.7 million (subscribers) (27.2 per cent.) 660,000 (free to view only) (2.7 percent.)
    digital cable6 million (25 per cent.)2.1 million (8.5 per cent.)
    DSLNot known(0.05 per cent.)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport with reference to the Digital Action Plan, what her definition of digital television being affordable is; and what criteria she used to come to this definition. [119650]

    We have said that switching to digital television must be an affordable option for the vast majority of people; and as a target indicator of affordability, 95 per cent. of consumers must have access to digital equipment. One of the key tasks for Government in the Digital Action Plan is to conduct a comprehensive review of progress towards digital switchover, with particular reference to the accessibility, availability and affordability tests announced in September 1999. I have asked the Digital Television Consumer Expert Group announced on 17 June to help the Government with this.