UK plans for digital switchover win international backing

LONDON - Media regulator Ofcom has secured 'near-universal' availability of Freeview by 2012, as UK plans for digital switchover win international backing.

The UK's plans for digital television and the addition of new digital radio services are dependant on international backing because broadcast signals can interfere with those in neighbouring countries.

Led by Ofcom, a UK delegation involved in the switchover has now secured a smooth transition to digital broadcasting free from international interference or constraints, following successful negotiations with France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland, among others.

Under the agreement the UK will be able to use all necessary transmitter sites to deliver public service broadcasting Freeview channels to 98.5% of the population -- the same proportion currently receives analogue TV broadcasts.

Stephen Carter, Ofcom chief executive, said: "This accelerates the move to all-digital broadcasting. After months of detailed negotiations involving more than 100 countries, this success outcome is testament to the hard work and dedication of the UK delegation."

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