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Digital Television

Volume 447: debated on Monday 5 June 2006

11. To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what percentage of television viewers in the Border Television area cannot receive digital television. (74927)

Currently digital terrestrial television is available to over half of the population of Border region, and the vast majority of households can receive digital TV services via digital satellite, terrestrial or cable. 70 per cent. of households in Border have already chosen to take up digital TV.

After switchover, which takes place in Border in 2008, UK digital terrestrial television coverage will match the current analogue coverage of 98.5 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether Ofcom's digital dividend review of the value of the spectrum released by full digital switchover will inform Government policy on the extent of the costs of digital switchover to be paid for through the BBC licence fee. (71608)

There is no relation between the Digital Dividend Review, on which we expect Ofcom to consult towards the end of this year, and the switchover costs to be paid by the BBC, which will be part of the licence fee settlement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans her Department has to increase its audio description targets for digital television. (75172)

The Department currently has no plans to increase its audio description targets for digital television. The Communications Bill gives Ofcom a requirement to produce, publish and from time to time review a Code relating to provision for the deaf and visually impaired and the means by which such services should be promoted. Ofcom are in the process of reviewing the code, and have suggested in their consultation that it would be better to review the statutory target for audio description when it is clearer how many potential beneficiaries will use it.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether the cost of digital switchover will be ring-fenced in the accounts of the BBC. (73549)

[holding answer 25 May 2006]: We are considering how best to account for the BBC's digital switchover costs, including the cost of the targeted help scheme, as part of discussions about the level of the licence fee.