The Dutch Cabinet has agreed with the proposal of Minister of Economic Affairs Laurens Jan Brinkhorst and Deputy Minister for Education, Culture and Science Medy van der Laan, to switch off the analogue terrestrial TV transmitters in the Netherlands on the night of 29/30 October 2006. It was originally planned to switch off the transmitters on 1 January, but that was postponed because insufficient time had been given for consumers to find alternative means of reception.
From the end of October, digital terrestrial TV (DTT) will be available across the country. At the moment, only the public TV channels are available terrestrially, but soon the Dutch commercial stations and some non-Dutch stations will be available via DTT. Then, the platform will become a fully-fledged alternative to cable, satellite and Internet.
Very few people in the Netherlands still use the analogue TV services, which cost 11 million euro a year to run. Between 2002 and 2006, the number of households depending on the analogue services has been more than halved, from 520,000 to 220,000. Of those about 28,000 households are not within reach of a cable service. A major advertising campaign will take place to advise these households of alternatives to the terrestrial service.
The government's decision means that the Netherlands becomes the first country in Europe to completely switch from analogue to digital for terrestrial TV reception
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