HL Deb 22 February 2005 vol 669 cc190-1WA
Lord Kilclooney

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the proposed timetable for the introduction of digital television in Northern Ireland; whether this timetable is dependent upon progress on the introduction of digital television in the Republic of Ireland; whether there is cooperation between the United Kingdom and the Republic on its introduction; and what attempts they are making to persuade the Ulster Television Company of the merits of the early introduction of digital television in Northern Ireland. [HL1342]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

No firm dates for switchover have been set, but Ofcom has suggested an indicative date of 2011 for the Ulster region. The final decision on timing is a matter for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. The sequence is determined by technical factors and the order is generally expected to stay as advised by Ofcom.

In regions close to neighbouring countries, it is very important to co-ordinate with the relevant foreign authorities. This is routinely being done for the Republic of Ireland.

Discussions with Ulster TV on switchover issues are a matter for Ofcom.