Committee to launch fresh probe into TV switch-over

The culture, media and sport Select Committee is reported to be launching a fresh inquiry into the Government’s plans to switch off the analogue television signal.

The committee will look at the cost of switching to digital and the feasibility of the Government’s target of abolishing the analogue signal between 2008 and 2012. It follows Labour’s General Election manifesto pledge earlier this year that it would “achieve digital switchover between 2008 and 2012”. It is the first time Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government have publicly committed to the proposal.

Millions of households remain without access to digital services and many will be forced to buy costly new equipment if the plan is introduced in three years’ time. Members will also look into plans to protect vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and poor, when the analogue signal is switched off. Analysts have predicted the move to digital could cost up to &£7bn.

Details of the new inquiry come a week after the committee’s new line-up was announced. The members, made up of 11 MPs, include newcomers John Whittingdale and Tim Yeo, both former Conservative shadow culture spokesmen.

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