|Last month communications regulator Ofcom offered the current Channel 3 licensees the option to accept digital replacement licences, all of which have now been taken up.
The DRLs contain various obligations related to digital switchover, including a target switchover date of December 31, 2012.
New licences, which replace existing analogue broadcasting licences, will be issued to the eleven Channel 3 companies controlled by ITV plc (Granada, Carlton, LWT, Central, Westcountry, HTV, Meridian, Border, Anglia, Tyne Tees, Yorkshire); the two controlled by SMG (Scottish and Grampian); Ulster Television; Channel TV; and GMTV.
The licence holders of the Channel Five and Public Teletext services have also accepted offers of DRLs, while a digital replacement licence will automatically be issued to Channel Four as required under the Communications Act.
All DRLs will take effect from 28 December 2004.
The DRLs will become the main new broadcasting licences for Channels 3, 4, 5 and Public Teletext and will contain the key public service requirements set out in their existing analogue licences.
Digital switchover will take place on a Channel 3 region-by-region basis. The proposed sequence for this process will be published early in 2005 and, after discussion and agreement, Ofcom plans to reflect it in the DRLs, which will be varied accordingly.