ONdigital launch date imminent

Digital broadcaster ONdigital is a fortnight away from announcing its launch date, according to sources.

The joint venture between Carlton and Granada has so far only said that it aims to launch in the final quarter of this year. Rival BSkyB has announced it will launch SkyDigital on October 1. ONdigital has marketed its 15-channel terrestrial service as a simple plug-in-and-play service.

By September 9 the first phase of the broadcaster’s systems integration testing is due to be completed. This is where the transmitters currently broadcasting are tested together with the digital transmission system and set-top boxes, to ensure a signal can be received.

ONdigital aims to achieve coverage at launch of about 60 per cent of the population, which it predicts will grow to 75 per cent over the next year.

Peter Rogers, chief executive of the Independent Television Commission, warned the chief executives of UK digital broadcasters BSkyB, ONdigital and Cable & Wireless Communications, at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, not to use “knocking copy” against each other. Rogers claims it could make consumers delay in subscribing to the new technology.

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