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Thursday, 21 June, 2001, 19:03 GMT 20:03 UK
Digital switch on target
Digital equipment
Many households have received free digital packages
The latest government figures show one in three households in the UK now has digital television.

It also predicts the majority are planning to make the switch by 2006.

Analogue signals are expected to be switched off between 2006 and 2010, but the government has stipulated that 99.4% of homes should be able to receive the digital signal and 95% of homes must have the equipment.

Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, Tessa Jowell, has described the figures as encouraging, showing the country was on schedule to meet these targets.

She said: "So far 30% of households have digital television and this figure could increase to 55% over the next five years.

"We want to see the benefits of greater choice and better quality television available to the widest number as quickly as is practicable."

Satellite

But within the industry confidence is less high that the targets can be met as much of the digital technology already in homes came free with cable or satellite packages.

It is feared that digital take-up will level off at around 75% with the remaining households ignoring the new technology.

The government has launched a number of initiatives to encourage people to buy digital televisions sets.

One has seen the introduction of a labelling system to take the confusion out of buying digital equipment.

There are also plans to create experimental neighbourhoods with free conversion to digital.

The government will regularly monitor take up rates in order to gauge the success of these schemes.

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See also:

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