Number of page: 53
Publisher: The Stationery Office
Category: Business & Economics
The Government has decided that, starting in 2008, analogue terrestrial television broadcasts will be taken off the air and all households will be required to switch over to digital by 2012. Digital terrestrial television makes more efficient use of scarce radio spectrum, offering more channels and interactive features. Almost every household is likely to incur some costs in this change, needing new or converted equipment. Switching terrestrial television from analogue to digital will be a highly complex undertaking, requiring coordination and cooperation throughout the industry. Awareness and understanding of its implications and rationale is still limited among the general public. Digital UK has been established by broadcasters and operators of the digital terrestrial television multiplexes to oversee the process. It must communicate the oncoming transition to digital television, and its consequences. The Government and Digital UK should also make clear that the more advanced boxes and other digital platforms, including broadband, may offer significant additional benefits to individuals rather than simply focusing on the cheapest option. Consumers must have independent and reliable information on their options in the new digital world. Many will need help, particular potentially vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities, the elderly, the socially isolated and those in low income groups. To achieve a smooth and successful outcome, a task of this complexity requires strong management, unambiguous attribution of responsibilities, co-ordination among all the industry stakeholders, and effective communication with customers, consumers and citizens. The Government must provide clarity of leadership and accountability, with a single identifiable Government minister responsible.