Skip to main content

Broadcasting: Digital Switchover

Volume 703: debated on Thursday 10 July 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their timetable for the switchover to digital television in Northern Ireland; whether the independent television licensee in Northern Ireland, UTV, is preparing for this switchover; and whether the free-to-air service, Freesat, from ITV will be available from UTV in Northern Ireland. [HL4480]

Northern Ireland switchover will start in 2012 and Digital UK will have a Northern Ireland regional manager in place by September 2010. Freesat is available to 98 per cent of UK households; it is not possible to give a regional breakdown. Digital UK continues to work with broadcasters such as UTV as part of switchover preparations.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What discussions they have had with the Government of the Republic of Ireland about the switchover to digital television in that country; and whether the timing of the switchover to digital television in the Republic of Ireland will influence the timescale for switching to digital television in Northern Ireland. [HL4481]

James Purnell, former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, met Eamon Ryan, the Irish Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, earlier this year to discuss digital switchover and related issues in Ireland. Officials continue to work together on these issues.

Northern Ireland is scheduled to switch over from the analogue signal to digital in 2012. We understand that the Irish Government have not yet set a date for digital switchover in Ireland.