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Digital Television Switchover

Volume 496: debated on Monday 20 July 2009

9. What lessons learned from digital switchover in the Border TV region will be used in planning for switchover in other regions. (287445)

Switchover has been successfully completed in the Selkirk and Douglas transmitter group areas of the Border region, with the Caldbeck group area due to complete on Wednesday. A number of findings resulting from research carried out during the switchover have been used to refine switchover further for the next regions to switch.

As my right hon. Friend has said, in two days switchover will be completed in the Border TV region. I sincerely hope that my good lady wife will ensure that everything is in order when that happens in my absence. I believe that the digital switchover help scheme initially caused concern. Has the uptake that we budgeted for been as great as my right hon. Friend expected?

It has not been as great as we expected; there is a considerable underspend. We do not think that, by and large, that is because the scheme is too complicated, but issues raised in my hon. Friend’s area have been looked at, and the new advice and videos that are being provided are intended to make it less complicated. The main reason for the underspend is that most people have simply done it for themselves, perhaps helped by friends or family. The help scheme has been a great success, and has been valued by those who have used it. Nevertheless, there are always lessons to be learned, and we hope that we are learning them from the switchover in my hon. Friend’s area.