Ofcom—'switchover may cost £400m'

The Ofcom Consumer Panel has published a report called: "Supporting the most vulnerable customers through digital switchover".

Colette Bowe, Chairman of the Ofcom Consumer Panel, said: "Digital switchover will be the biggest challenge for people who have to cope with it on their own, without the help of family, friends or neighbours.

"We are suggesting that a realistic way to meet this challenge is to mobilise existing community networks. This will cost money. But it will be the key to providing the support that vulnerable people will need if they are to be helped to keep their access to television."

The Panel recommends that financial assistance should be offered to people currently eligible for TV licence fee exemptions or concessions (people over 75 or registered blind) to meet the costs of one-off purchases of equipment and any necessary aerial upgrade work needed to make the transition to digital.

The total cost of the Panel's recommendations could, in broad terms, lie between £250m and £400m. As the Panel does not yet know exactly the number of people who will need access to any practical support scheme, this estimate is based on a proxy population and should be treated as purely indicative at this stage.

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