TV company brings forward analogue switch-off in Stevenage

THOUSANDS of residents could be left unable to watch television, after a communications company announced it is to switch off analogue transmission up to 21 months ahead of schedule. Virgin Media will switch off analogue transmission to its cable users in

THOUSANDS of residents could be left unable to watch television, after a communications company announced it is to switch off analogue transmission up to 21 months ahead of schedule.

Virgin Media will switch off analogue transmission to its cable users in Stevenage on July 1 this year.

The national digital switchover, which will convert analogue television to digital, is being done region by region and Stevenage residents are not due to switchover until at least April 2011.

Stevenage residents who receive a signal from the London region are not due to switchover until April 2012.


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A Wisden Road resident, who did not wish to be named, said: "I'm a Virgin Media customer, but fortunately have a digital-ready television.

"Virgin Media's decision will be devastating for some people, who maybe can't afford to buy a new television or a digital set top box at such relatively short notice.

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"Pensioners will be worst affected, as they often have limited funds to live on and can rely on the television for company."

Stevenage Homes is arranging for flat blocks and sheltered housing schemes to be fitted with new communal aerial systems so residents can continue to view BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel4 and Five in analogue until the official switchover.

Cllr Ann Webb, Stevenage Borough Council's executive member for housing, said: "We are very disappointed by Virgin Media's decision to bring forward switching off analogue cable television in Stevenage.

"We are committed to minimising the effect of this decision by installing the new equipment so our residents are not inconvenienced by not having access to television."

Stevenage Homes is writing to all its residents to explain how individual households will be affected.

A public meeting will also be held at 8pm on Tuesday, March 9, at Stevenage Borough Council's offices in Danestrete, for residents to learn more about the digital switchover.

For more information about digital television, visit www.digitaluk.co.uk or call 08456 505050.

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