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Digital rollout to start in 2008

World Brief

The U.K.’s five-year phased switch-off of the analog TV signal will start in the west and northwest of England and Wales in 2008, if the government accepts communications regulator Ofcom’s plan, unveiled Wednesday.

The most densely populated areas of London and the southeast will be the last to convert to digital.

Even though 60% of U.K. households have access to a digital TV service, some 75 million TVs must be converted to digital by the time the switch is complete in 2012.

Politicians fear the costs associated with forcing viewers to go digital will be a vote loser. Therefore the timetable is unlikely to be confirmed before the election of a British government in May. The switch is estimated to cost $9 billion.

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