Planning Options for Digital Switchover (Ofcom)

Ofcom has now published the results of its consultation process on planning for the digital switchover of terrestrial television in the UK. Its main conclusions are

  • That all three public service multiplexes should aim to achieve similar levels of coverage by adopting the same mode of operation and similar power levels.
  • Commercial multiplex operators should be able to determine their own coverage objectives but must not let the coverage of any multiplex fall below its present levels of 73%.
  • Ofcom is also on favour of Public service multiplex broadcasters using 64QAM at switchover to maximise the number of channels available. But it makes the proviso that this should only happen if steps are being taken to ensure that coverage would reach 98.5% of the population, as analogue PBS services do at present and that switchover can be achieved between 2008 and 2012.
  • Ofcom has decided that it is essential that 8k be used at switchover in areas where SFN’s will be in operation such as the Meridian and Anglia regions. The rest of the UK will adopt the 8k format by 2012 or earlier if the impact on existing 2k viewers is shown to be small.

The full report can be seen on the Ofcom website
Item added 2nd June 2005