Switch-off for analogue TV

LONDON’S analogue television signal was turned off in the early hours of this morning in the latest step of the UK’s digital switchover.

BBC director general Mark Thompson and Arqiva chief executive John Cresswell last night drew a line under 75 years of analogue TV broadcasts to the capital as part of the nation’s upgrade to digital television.

The £630m project will see up to 50 digital Freeview channels reach the homes of 98.5 per cent of the population.

The London switchover takes digital television’s coverage from 63 per cent to 81 per cent of UK homes, leaving just three of the nation’s 15 TV regions left to make the transition from analogue.

David Cameron called the switchover “a landmark project that is helping to drive forwards our goal of creating a truly digital Britain.”

He added, “Public-service broadcasting has been a vital part of life in the UK for 75 years, helping make British broadcasting the envy of the world,” and said the switchover marks a key milestone in making a truly 21st century television service.

When the last rays of analogue broadcast are switched off later this year, the vacated spectrum at 800MHz will be allocated by Ofcom to mobile network operators for 4G.

This latest generation of mobile connectivity will provide faster data download speeds for enhanced activities such as high definition video streaming and online gaming.