End of analogue TV set for October 2012

Summary:Britain's analogue TV signal will be completely turned off on 24 October, 2012, with Northern Ireland the last to receive it, Digital UK said on Friday.The completion of the digital switchover, which began in 2008, brings an end to more than 70 years of analogue broadcasting in the country and opens the door to reuse of the spectrum for mobile broadband.

Britain's analogue TV signal will be completely turned off on 24 October, 2012, with Northern Ireland the last to receive it, Digital UK said on Friday.

The completion of the digital switchover, which began in 2008, brings an end to more than 70 years of analogue broadcasting in the country and opens the door to reuse of the spectrum for mobile broadband.

"The analogue era was a defining period for TV but the fully digital age will be even better, with a greater choice of channels for viewers everywhere," David Scott, head of Digital UK, said in a statement. "I'm looking forward to October next year when we will have brought the benefits of digital to every corner of the country."

Digital UK was launched in 2005 to shepherd the transition, which forced people to abandon analogue TV sets and use digital ones if they wanted to keep receiving broadcasts.

Ofcom is in charge of holding an auction to sell off the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum freed up by the shift, with these bands earmarked for 4G mobile broadband. However, the auction date has been repeatedly pushed back and now will not take place until "perhaps" the end of 2012, the regulator said last week.

Rural communities in particular are expected to benefit from the LTE broadband services resulting from the sell-off. Despite the delays, the regulator has maintained that there will be no real effect on consumers, as the spectrum would not be ready for use until 2013.

Topics: Tech Industry

About

Karen Friar is news editor for ZDNet in the UK, based in London. She has been in journalism since the last century, starting out in film journalism in San Francisco, before making the switch to tech coverage at ZDNet.com. Next came a move to CNET News.com, where she looked after west coast coverage of business technology, specialising in... Full Bio

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