With the last analogue transmitter now turned off, the digital TV revolution has now been completed. It marks the end of 70 years of analogue broadcasting.
The last analogue signal was turned off by Olympic gold medallist Dame Mary Peters at the Divis transmitter, outside Belfast this morning. Soon after, the existing Freeview signals were boosted throughout Northern Ireland.
It has been a huge project, involving the need for the public to upgrade or replace existing equipment, along with a number of digital re-tunes as channels were moved around when a new region ceased analogue broadcasting.
Yet, all of it happened on time, and even under budget.
Besides now being able to offer digital TV to 10 million more viewers in the UK, other benefits will come from the released airwaves being re-used for future 4G mobile phone services.
David Scott, Chief Executive of Digital UK, said: “Following the completion of switchover, some airwaves previously used for television will be auctioned for 4G high-speed mobile broadband. 4G is the fourth generation of mobile phone technology, ideally suited for video streaming, email, messenger services and social networking.”
Freeview is now available from over 1,100 sites and serving 26 million homes, up from just 80 transmitter sites before the switchover process began.
Digital UK was established in 2005 as a not-for-profit organisatin to lead the implementation of the digital switchover, funded by the broadcasting industry.