Ofcom raises 'urgent' digital switchover issues

Ofcom raises 'urgent' digital switchover issues

Digital UK 'not getting the message across', claims watchdog

Information about the digital switchover in the UK is not reaching the most vulnerable viewers, according to Ofcom.

A report from the regulator's Consumer Panel found that some consumers, especially the elderly, are confused about the equipment they will need.

Ofcom also found that elderly viewers are less confident about installing the technology themselves.

Consumer Panel chairman Colette Bowe said that the research had raised " urgent practical issues" about how information and support could be targeted at vulnerable groups.

However, a spokesman for Digital UK, which is handling the changeover, insisted that the message is reaching the right people as the switch-off approaches the first UK regions.

"Overall the contents of the report are interesting, but we do not agree with the suggestion that vulnerable groups are not getting the necessary information, " he said.

"In places like Whitehaven, where we have just switched over, the vulnerable groups are getting help and we would challenge people to say otherwise."

Digital UK claimed that it had not underestimated the challenge and would work with its partner organisations to provide help over and above the expected levels.

"We regularly research people's awareness, and the vast majority are aware," the spokesman said.

"For a lot of people it is three or four years away and not everyone needs detailed info on the switchover right now."

The spokesman claimed that residents in the Scottish borders, which will be switched to digital soon, have a good understanding of the process.