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UK Digital Switch Over begins

20 July 2006

Arqiva has begun work on the UK’s biggest broadcast engineering project, Digital Switch Over, with a 337 metre high mast at Caldbeck – the first stage in a _500m project.

With work commencing on the Caldbeck and Selkirk television masts, the first sites to be re-engineered as part of Digital Switch Over (DSO) are go. DSO will see TV services in the UK become completely digital, TV region by TV region, starting in 2008. A government-mandated national programme, DSO is the biggest, most complex broadcast engineering project of its kind ever to be carried out and will see the UK’s entire terrestrial television infrastructure – which took 30 years to build – replaced or upgraded by 2012.

The Caldbeck and Selkirk masts serve the Border region, the first region to be switched over to digital in 2008. To prepare for the switch over, Arqiva will construct a new 337 metre high mast at the Caldbeck site, making it the third tallest structure in the UK, and the first major television mast to be built by the company for 35 years. The new digital transmitting antennas will be installed at Selkirk in 2006 and at Caldbeck in 2008.

Steve Holebrook, Arqiva’s managing director of Terrestrial Media Solutions said: “DSO is a wide-ranging and complex project and, whilst viewers won’t begin to see the benefits until 2008, the engineering work is now underway. DSO will deliver DTT to 98.5% of the population and free up spectrum that could enable new broadcast services, such as mobile TV and HDTV on Freeview, to be delivered to UK viewers.”

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