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Digital Broadcasting: Northern Ireland

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will take steps to bring the level of take-up of digital broadcasting in Northern Ireland up to average levels in the rest of the UK. (284161)

[holding answer 3 July 2009]: As digital switchover in Northern Ireland in 2012 draws closer, Digital UK will run a communication programme in the area covered by the Ulster TV region about switchover and what people need to do to ensure that they can receive digital television services.

There are no steps envisaged to increase digital radio take-up specifically in Northern Ireland, or in any other part of the UK. However, as set out in the recently published Digital Britain White Paper, the Government recognise that building out a Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) infrastructure across the UK which meets the needs of broadcasters, multiplex operators and listeners, including improving the quality of the signal, will require additional investment. We will work closely with the BBC, transmission providers and Ofcom to agree a plan for the extension and improvement for local DAB coverage, and where the cost would most appropriately fall.