The cost of promoting analogue switch off to the UK is expected to cost £55 million less that first anticipated, according to Digital UK, the not for profit organisation responsible for leading the process. The figures have been in the public domain for several weeks, but have received increased attention ahead of the coalition government’s crackdown on public spending.
A budget of £201 million, top-sliced from the BBC licence fee was originally set aside for the project, but chief executive David Scott now believes a sum of £146 million will be required and that around £26 million can be released for other purposes.
“Although it’s still early days, TV switchover is going smoothly and we are on track to finish on time in 2012 and significantly under budget. Where we can, we will continue to look for ways to improve our information campaign and save money,” a spokesman for Digital UK told Broadband TV News.
Possible uses for the cash include the digital radio industry, where Mr Scott’s predecessor Ford Ennals heads Digital Radio UK. The delivery of broadband internet to rural areas, as discussed in the Digital Britain report, is also a possibility.
Digital UK itself has no view on how the money should be used which is a matter for the government and the BBC Trust.