End of an analogue era paves way for 4G mobile as Digital Dividend is complete
Ofcom has today welcomed the successful completion of the UK's switchover from analogue to digital terrestrial television. This has ensured that all UK households now have access to wide range of digital television channels and has also paved the way for the next generation of mobile broadband. The switchover to digital has freed up much needed capacity that will be used to deliver the fourth generation of mobile services. At the end of 2012, Ofcom will start the process of auctioning the Digital Dividend, the airwaves previously occupied by analogue television. Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards, said: 'The UK's switchover to digital has been a huge success. Not only has is created more TV choice for consumers, it has also freed up vital capacity that will be used to deliver mobile broadband services to 98% of cities, towns and villages across the UK. 'Now that switchover is complete, Ofcom is looking forward to delivering the 4G auction as the next step in delivering new higher speed mobile broadband services.' The switchover to digital-terrestrial television marks the end of more than 70 years of analogue broadcasting. Over the past five years, region by region, the UK has gradually switched off its five national analogue TV channels and replaced them with over 70 digital channels and created new capacity for mobile broadband services. The process has been run by Digital UK, broadcasters and transmission company Arqiva. Northern Ireland made the switch today, making it the final UK Nation to broadcast analogue TV. This completes a long history of analogue TV broadcasting in the UK that extends back to 2 November 1936 when the first public television broadcasting service was launched. The switchover process began in April 2004 when Ofcom published the blueprint for turning off analogue television in the UK. A switchover trial followed in Whitehaven in 2007, and the rest of the UK has since been switched to digital region by region. Ofcom's subsequent role in digital switchover was to support the programme in three areas: planning; licensing and international coordination.