Digital switchover begins in Cumbria

The digital television switchover begins today, 14 November, as Whitehaven in Cumbria becomes the first town in the UK to lose all analogue signals.

Starting at 2am, eighty-five years to the day since the birth of broadcasting in the UK, all remaining analogue signals are being turned off. Analogue BBC One, ITV1 and Channel 4 will be replaced by a series of digital channels broadcast in the area for the first time, following the lead of analogue BBC 2, which came off-air on October 17.

Ford Ennals, chief executive of Digital UK, said: ‘We’ve been very impressed by the response of people in Whitehaven to becoming the first all digital community. I’m particularly grateful for the hard work of the many organisations and volunteers here who have been instrumental in helping their friends and neighbours prepare for switchover.

‘Our research suggests that nearly all 25,000 homes in and around Whitehaven are ready for the completion of this process which will transform many people’s experience of watching television. However, we estimate that around 500 households still need to take action to prepare for switchover. ‘

Peter White, chief executive of the Digital Switchover Help Scheme, said: ‘So far the Digital Switchover Help Scheme has helped over 2,000 eligible people in Copeland convert to digital. The scheme stays open for a month after tomorrow’s switchover – 13 December is the deadline for applications from Copeland residents for help from the scheme. We urge those who are eligible, who need help, but have yet to apply, to get in touch now. There will be ongoing support available until April next year.’