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U.K. eyes digital TV subsidy

Gov't pushes to reach goal of being analog-less by 2006

EDINBURGH — The U.K. government is reportedly considering subsidizing set-top boxes to speed Britain’s switchover from analog to digital TV.

The move would advance the planned sale of the spectrum of frequencies currently occupied by BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

Last April, the government raised £22.5 million ($33.5 billion) through the sale of mobile-phone licenses. Sale of the TV spectrum could reap $75 billion.

The government’s stated goal of pulling the plug on analog in 2006 has been considered unrealistic. Selling cheaply or even giving boxes to viewers holding out on going digital, however, may help make it possible.

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