With the digital switch over process completed for the Black Hill transmitter group, serving central Scotland including parts of Glasgow and Edinburgh, all terrestrial TV is now fully digital throughout Scotland. Fourteen main transmitter groups including 186 relay stations form a complex network reaching out to the Western Isles and the Shetlands.
In the UK as a whole, eight out of the 15 TV regions have now fully switched, including all of Wales and now Scotland, as part of the five-year £700 million DSO project. Arqiva has completed about two-thirds of the engineering work which has included five new tall masts (including Black Hill) and many replacement antenna systems. A total of 39 main stations and 709 relays have already been switched over.
Peter Heslop, DSO project director at Arqiva, the company that is implementing the switchover, said in a statement: “Completing DSO in Scotland is another major milestone in the switchover programme and a proud moment for Arqiva. Scotland in particular has presented many challenges in terms of geography and weather, but these have all been successfully overcome. UK-wide infrastructure projects on this scale are rare and I’m delighted to report that everything is going to plan and we’re well on the way to delivering this huge project on time and within budget.”
All six digital TV multiplexes are now being transmitted at high power from the main station at Black Hill, while the three public-service multiplexes are being transmitted for the first time from 40 dependent relay sites.
Following switch-off of the BBC Two analogue signal on 8 June 2011, the remaining analogue signals for BBC One, STV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 were switched off by 00:30 on Wednesday 22 June. The digital signals for the D3&4, SDN, BBC B, Arqiva A and Arqiva B multiplexes entered official service at Black Hill at 04:45, with the very last relay in Scotland completed at Kirkfieldbank near Lanark by 15:00.
As transmission provider for all terrestrial TV and most radio services in the UK, Arqiva owns much of the infrastructure behind broadcast services and wireless communications in the UK, also operating an international satellite broadcast and communications business.