Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Other available languages: none

MEMO/05/166

Brussels, 24 May 2005

Switchover to Digital Television by 2012: Situation in the 25 EU Member States

  • United Kingdom: The United Kingdom is the most advanced digital TV market in Europe. Digital broadcasting transmission has already achieved a market share of 57% in the United Kingdom. Digital terrestrial TV is actually enjoyed by 16% of TV households in the United Kingdom and could be received by 74% of United Kingdom’s households at present. The UK has recently decided to roll out digital terrestrial TV to more than 97% of the population[1]. A firm timetable has not yet been announced for completing digital switchover; the UK states that it will announce this when technical issues have been addressed and when it is clear that the needs of the most vulnerable are protected. Indicative dates envisage a phased switchover process lasting up to 2012[2].
  • Germany: The Commission welcomes the determination in Germany to switchover rapidly to digital terrestrial broadcasting and to switch off analogue terrestrial broadcasting even before 2010, the date initially announced. With the successful completion of the first switchover process Berlin/Brandenburg has played a pioneer role in Europe and beyond. The same could become the case with the new DVB-H and DMB technologies for transmitting digital broadcast content to mobile handsets. Another concept recently developed in German law is the multi-platform approach to universal coverage. This approach makes sure that digital terrestrial TV would not have to be provided in areas where cable and satellite transmission are available. Limitations to the roll out of digital terrestrial TV would reduce transmission costs for digital TV programmes considerably and could make more spectrum available in the areas not covered. The Commission is also committed to design the switchover process in a way which does not distort competition.
  • France: France has already started digital TV operations but has failed to publish information on the planning. The Commission emphasises the importance of transparency and of publicly available information on all aspects of the French switchover process in order to inform consumers and to allow exchange of experience between EU Member States.
  • Italy: Italy has set a challenging target of 2006 for the completion of switchover and for the switch-off of analogue terrestrial TV. The Commission has stressed in its communication that the earlier the switchover process is started and the shorter the transitional period, the sooner the benefits of switchover are realised. A crucial factor for the success of the national switchover process is having an effective strategy to inform consumers about programme availability on digital platforms and the equipment needed to receive such programmes.
  • Spain: The switch-off date of 2010 has been announced but a detailed planning has still to be established. The switchover process should be market driven, but at the same time broadcaster co-ordination is needed to achieve a smooth technical and commercial implementation. Another crucial factor for the success of the national switchover process is having an effective strategy to inform consumers about programme availability on digital platforms and the equipment needed to receive such programmes.
  • Poland, Ireland, Denmark, Greece, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Malta, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Luxembourg: Switchover could provide considerable benefits, but there is still a lot of work to be done to realise the opportunities. A date for switch-off of analogue terrestrial TV has still to be decided and a detailed timetable and planning of the process has to be set up. Planning should be finalised by end 2005 and the plans be published and forwarded to the Commission. The switchover process should be market driven, but at the same time broadcaster co-ordination is needed to achieve a smooth technical and commercial implementation (e.g. compatible timetables). A particularly crucial factor for the success of the national switchover process is having an effective strategy to inform consumers about programme availability on digital platforms and the equipment needed to receive such programmes.
  • Netherlands, Belgium: These countries have a high cable penetration and the use of current analogue terrestrial TV is negligible. The most important benefit in these Member States would be the spectrum which could be released by the switch-off of analogue terrestrial TV and the new services which could be provided to consumers in this spectrum.
  • Hungary, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia: These new Member States are about to catch up with switchover progress in the old Member States, according to their planning. A crucial factor for the success of the national switchover process is having an effective strategy to inform consumers about programme availability on digital platforms and the equipment needed to receive such programmes.
  • Sweden, Finland: Are expected to be among the first Member States in the EU where analogue terrestrial TV will be switched of in the whole country. This will give these countries a head start for the introduction of new broadcasting and mobile telephony services, which will stimulate innovation and growth in the TV and electronic communications industries.
  • Austria: Is planning to switch off analogue terrestrial broadcasting by 2010. The process benefits from the experience in Germany and is in line with thinking in other countries such as the UK and Sweden.

Switch off dates of Analogue Terrestrial TV in Member States

Country
Date
Other details
Belgium
2012 envisaged in Flanders
Switch off is planned to start in 2010
Denmark
No decision yet

Germany
2010 envisaged, however no scenario
Berlin area switched off in 2003, other densely populated islands will follow
Greece
after 2010

Spain
1 Jan 2010

France
No decision yet

Hungary
31 Dec. 2012
Gradual switch off of the analogue transmitters
Ireland
No decision yet
No spectrum scarcity identified which would call for switch off
Italy
2006

Lithuania
Beginning in 2012
Gradual switch off, 90% of households receiving analogue terrestrial programs should be capable to receive digital terrestrial programs before an area can be switched off
Luxembourg
No decision yet
One analogue channel has been switched off already
Netherlands
No decision yet

Austria
2010 envisaged

Poland
No decision yet

Portugal
No decision yet

Finland
31 Aug 2007 proposed, same date all over the country

Sweden
Final date of Feb 2008 proposed
Switch off may start already earlier, by region
Slovénia
2012

Slovakia
2012

United Kingdom
2007-2012 (tentative)
Decision on switch off by end 2004

Communication on accelerating the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting: http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/topics/ecomm/useful_information/library/communic_reports/index_en.htm


[1] This follows from the licence provision that digital terrestrial coverage should match analogue terrestrial coverage see e.g.

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/drl/statement/drl/c5.pdf

[2] http://www.digitaltelevision.gov.uk/index.html


Side Bar