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Digital Television Switchover 15 September 2005

    The Isle of Man is to be the first nation in the British Isles to switch over fully to digital television, the Communications Commission confirmed today (15 September 2005).

    Switchover to digital terrestrial television will take place on the Island and across the Border ITV region in 2008. The rest of the UK and the Channel Islands will follow in a transition that will complete by the end of 2012. The Republic of Ireland has not yet announced its plans to introduce digital terrestrial TV.

    Over 60 per cent of the Island’s population currently has digital TV through satellite, whether or not they subscribe to Sky. All BBC digital services, both radio and TV, are already available free-of-charge through a dish. The BBC also streams its digital radio services through the internet. ITV will join the BBC on a FreeSat service in 2006.

    The Communications Commission has been liaising on the switchover with the BBC, Border Television, the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom) and a new body, SwitchCo, which will be co-ordinating the arrangements and publicity for the transition.

    Details of the switchover are yet to be finalised. When they are, there will be extensive publicity to keep everyone informed.

    Commenting on the proposals, Communications Commission Director, Anthony Hewitt, said:

    “This is welcome confirmation of the broad programme for switchover. Digital television will bring a new range of choice to viewers on the Island. TV reception and services will be enhanced.”

    The transition will start during autumn 2008. It is anticipated that the existing analogue BBC2 frequency will be the first to be switched over to digital to carry BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4, Five and other new services. Later the analogue frequencies for BBC1, ITV and Channel 4 will switch over to provide many new choices for viewers, also without subscription.

    15th September 2005

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