Regulator Ofcom has set 31 December 2012 as the official switch-off date for analogue television signals in the UK.

Ofcom indicated the date for switch-off as part of its consultation on the new digital replacement licenses for ITV, Channel 4 and Five.

The broadcasters currently hold analogue licences which allow them to broadcast their services in analogue format with an additional ability to broadcast on Digital Terrestrial Television. Conversely, the new licences are primarily digital licences with an ability to broadcast in analogue.

Under the new terms, which will run for ten years to 2014, licensees would be required to roll out digital terrestrial television to 1154 transmission sites, co-operate with organisations involved in digital switchover and set the end of 2012 as a backstop date by which they are obliged to cease broadcasting their analogue service.

Both the BBC and Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary, have already indicated that 2012 was more feasible for analogue switch-off than the Government’s initial target of between 2006 and 2010.