As we have already suggested on UK Free TV, the Caldbeck transmitter - and its relays - will not be switched-over to pure digital television until June 2009.
Reports in the News and Star and the Cumberland News confirm that the mast, which serves Cumbria and South West Scotland requires rebuilding and was taking longer than expected. This will not affect the second UK switchover at Whitehaven, next autumn.
John Askew, Digital UK regional manager told the paper "Caldbeck will be switched over in the second quarter of 2009 because it is going to take that long to complete the work. We are building an entirely new transmitter from ground up. The mast is going to be at a height of 1,500ft. Even on a calm day it could be blowing at 40mph up there so there are only a few days in the year when we can work at that height on top of the fells. Theoretically it could be completed earlier but I imagine the engineers will want to stick to that date."
Digital UK's Jon Steel said "At the point of the announcement we couldnt accurately state the end time. It is a two stage process with two transmitters that change over at different times. It is not surprising people havent noticed that the process is only due to start in 2008. In the absence of being sure we thought it was best to stick with one date rather than two dates that might have confused things."