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Vulnerable need help with digital switchover

Charities and others urged to provide support


A remote control pointed at a television screen.

More needs to be done to ensure vulnerable consumers don’t miss out on the nationwide switchover to digital television, it has been claimed.

Digital switchover will happen on a regional basis from 2008 until 2012 when the analogue signal will completely disappear.

But research from TV regulator Ofcom and Digital UK – the organisation leading the switchover process – has warned about the impact on disabled, older, isolated and low income consumers.

Although these groups of people rely heavily on television, they were also found to be most in need of support.

Communications campaign

The research warns that without support these consumers will experience difficulty in preparing for an all digital television environment.

Ofcom and Digital UK say there needs to be a targeted communications campaign to stress the importance of reaching those most in need of help with switchover. 

Mike Whitlam, Chairman of the Ofcom Advisory Committee on Older and Disabled People said: ‘This research provides a great insight into how digital switchover can be successfully achieved with this important group of people.   

‘The Committee calls upon relevant charities, social services, and others to work with Digital UK to ensure that the right advice and support is available for a straight forward switch to digital television.’

Analogue signal

Ford Ennals, Chief Executive of Digital UK, added: ‘We are already working with a range of charities to ensure help is available to support older and disabled people through switchover. This research provides valuable insights into the particular needs of these groups and confirms the importance of that work.’

More than 77 per cent of UK households already receive digital television on at least one television set within their home.  However, everyone will need to convert or upgrade all their television equipment in the home to receive television at switchover.

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