HC Deb 11 November 1999 vol 337 cc832-3W
Mr. Dafis

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimates he has made for the time when analogue television transmission will be discontinued, of the percentage of(a) the viewers of BBC1 who will have access to analogue but not digital equipment in their homes and (b) the viewers of S4C who will have access to analogue but not digital equipment in their homes. [97953]

Janet Anderson

The Government have set two tests to be met before switch over from analogue to digital television transmissions: first, at least everyone who currently receives analogue television signals should be able to receive digital signals; and second, digital receiving equipment should be affordable, so that at least 95 per cent. of UK consumers have access to digital equipment in the home. We believe that switch over could start to happen as early as 2006 and be completed by 2010.

The broadcasters estimate that 98.3 per cent. of the Welsh population have access to analogue terrestrial television services, with BBC Wales and S4C available to 97.6 per cent., and we will seek to ensure that at least the same proportion can receive television services in digital form in advance of switch over. At present, BBC Wales' and S4C's digital terrestrial services can be received by 70 per cent. of Welsh consumers and the ITC, BBC and digital broadcasters will be planning the development of terrestrial coverage over the next few years.

The BBC and S4C already transmit their services, throughout Wales, on digital satellite and they plan to broadcast on digital cable, when it becomes available.

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