Welcoming the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s report on Analogue Switch-off, Jo Swinson MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Scottish Secretary, said:
“Many of the potential problems raised by the Report could have been avoided if the UK Government had been quicker off the mark in announcing the switchover dates.
“Television viewers in Scotland will be amongst the first to see the impact when the ‘Border’ television region leads the way on switchover in 2008.
“There is a danger that too many people will be left behind in the digital revolution. We must not only ensure that elderly and disabled people get the financial and practical help they need. We must guarantee that people in isolated rural communities won’t get left with expensive digiboxes that can’t get a signal.
“It is pleasing to see that the committee doesn’t think the licence fee should be used to fund the government’s social goals. Switchover is a Government priority, and it’s absolutely right that the Exchequer should fund it.
“The benefits of digital television are huge, but it needs careful planning and speedy action from both government and the industry if the public are to receive the information and assistance they need.”
Figures calculated by the Liberal Democrats, based on research by Ofcom, have shown that digital switchover will cost the consumer £17.5m- £70m extra in electricity bills. Digital television uses more power, and Ofcom were charged with investigating this power.
On 8 November 05 they published their conclusions:
“Typical household power consumption is expected to increase by 0.1 to 0.4kWh per day – an estimated cost of £2 to £8 per year at current tariffs. This is approximately equivalent to running a 60W light bulb for 1.5 to 6.5 hours per day.
“The total anticipated peak additional power consumption in the UK as a direct result of switchover is expected to be around 31MWh per day (approximately equivalent to each UK household running a child’s night light for around ten minutes per day). Over time, as older equipment is naturally replaced and technology becomes more power efficient, our model predicts that this will trend towards zero.”