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Digital Terrestrial in 2007 16 September 2004

The Isle of Man may be the first nation in the British Isles to be fully switched over to digital television, the Communications Commission announced today (15 September 2004).

Switchover to digital terrestrial television is likely to take place on the Island and across the Border ITV region in 2007. 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 half the Island's population currently has access to 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 Communications Commission has been liaising with the BBC, Border Television and the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom) on the planning for the switchover. Ofcom is currently consulting on some of the licensing issues involved.

Details of the switchover are yet to be finalised. When they have there will be extensive publicity so that the people of the Island are kept informed.

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

"Digital television will bring a whole new range of choice to viewers on the Island. TV reception will be improved and services enhanced. The Isle of Man will again be at the forefront of broadcasting technology."

The transition is expected to start in 2007 with the existing analogue BBC2 frequency being 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.

Only certain areas of the Isle of Man currently receive digital or Channel 5 terrestrially.

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