UK completes digital switchover

The UK ended more than 70 years of analogue broadcasting today with the completion of the switchover to digital television.

Switchover has boosted Freeview coverage to 10 million viewers in reception blackspots across the UK and cleared airwaves for new uses, including 4G mobile broadband services.

Northern Ireland was the final region to switch to digital in the early hours of 24 October after Olympic gold medallist Dame Mary Peters switched off analogue signals at the Divis transmitter, just outside Belfast, and Freeview signals were boosted across the region.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "The UK's switch to digital television has been the biggest single change to broadcasting for a generation. It has delivered more choice for millions of viewers and paved the way for exciting new services, securing our role as a global player in broadcasting and creative industries."

Digital UK led co-ordination of switchover, including transmitter upgrades and the viewer information campaign.

David Scott, Chief Executive of Digital UK, said: "Today is a milestone for UK television. Over the last five years switchover has modernised the terrestrial TV network and ensured that the benefits of digital are available to everyone. I want to thank the many organisations which played a part in this success and the viewers who generally took the change in their stride. I am delighted we have not only completed the task on time but also significantly under budget."

Following the completion of switchover, some airwaves previously used for television will be auctioned for 4G mobile broadband services. The UK's first 4G mobile service will be launched by Everything Everywhere (EE) on 30 October.

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