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Digital Broadcasting: Multiple Occupation

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he made of the preparedness of landlords of (a) privately rented multi-dwelling units and (b) social multi-dwelling units who, in preparation for the digital switchover for the dwelling units for which they are responsible (i) have upgraded the television system, (ii) have specific plans to do so and (iii) are unaware of the technical options or actions they need to take to make the transition to digital; and if he will make a statement. (154897)

Responsibility for upgrading communal television systems is a matter for landlords in consultation with residents. Digital UK is responsible for communicating with landlords and property managers in order to increase awareness and understanding about what they need to do to prepare for switchover.

The Government published research in 2005 and 2007 which looked at the readiness of communal television systems provided by social landlords. The most recent research carried out by BMRB1 and published in January 2007 showed an increase in the level of upgrade work since the 2005 survey with 32 per cent. of organisations in the process of completing the upgrade of all systems and nearly 50 per cent. having completed the upgrade of at least 30 per cent. of systems. Digital UK continues to map subsequent progress in the social sector through regional meetings and direct communications with social landlords.

Collecting information on private sector landlords is much more difficult given the diversity of the sector. Digital UK collects information on awareness of digital switchover and conversion to digital television through the quarterly tracker survey. The most recent tracker survey2 reports that digital conversion for households who live in flats is around 74 per cent. compared to digital take up of 80 per cent. across all tenures. Digital UK is continuing a targeted information campaign aimed at residents’ associations and flat-dwellers in the first four regions scheduled for switchover, as well as communicating directly with private landlords.

1 Communal TV Systems and Preparation for Digital Switchover—BMRB December 2006.

2 Digital Switchover Tracker Survey Switchover Progress Report Q2 2007 Ofcom and Digital UK August 2007.