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Free-To-Air Digital Tv Channels

Volume 623: debated on Tuesday 20 March 2001

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the Department for Culture, Media and Sport accepts that the Government's own targets for analogue switchover could be advanced through additional free-to-air digital channels from public service broadcasters. [HL1159]

The Government's estimated timescale for digital switchover is 2006–2010 and the conditions that need to be met before the analogue signal will be switched off were announced in September 1999. One of the conditions is that 95 per cent of the population must have access to digital television before switchover is completed. As set out in my Answer to another Question from the noble Lord, we believe that the provision of high quality free-to-air digital services could affect the take-up of digital television, and therefore the speed at which this condition is met.