Annual report 2010

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Engineering programme

Mike Hughes Mike Hughes, Digital UK's Broadcast Director, looks at the engineering programme as it moves into its final phase.

Helilift at Durris Specialist helicopters were used to ensure switchover engineering work at the Durris transmitter in the STV North region was completed on schedule. (photo: Arqiva)

Digital TV switchover is one of the biggest projects of its kind in UK broadcasting history, and this year the engineering programme moved towards its final phase.

Most activity was concentrated in Scotland, as switchover began for viewers in the north and preparations continued across the central belt. Focus then moved to the Channel Islands in November where Freeview was made available for the first time to some 50,000 households.

Work during the last 12 months also included the construction of new masts at Rowridge on the Isle of Wright and Divis in Northern Ireland, destined to serve more than 1.2 million homes between them.

'Arqiva is managing this complex and extensive engineering task in an exemplary manner.'

Transmission company Arqiva is managing this complex and extensive engineering task in an exemplary manner. Its continued use of helicopters helped ensure all antenna replacement and refurbishment works were completed on time and with minimum disruption to viewers.

Switchover in the Channel Islands also marked the commencement of the Channel 61 and 62 Clearance Programme, with frequency changes at two local relay transmitters. As well as ensuring the smooth continuation of digital TV switchover, Digital UKs Broadcast team is now also focused on planning the further clearance of these services from the 800MHz band after switchover completes at the end of 2012. These changes will lead to future improvements in the speed and coverage of mobile broadband.

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