Carlisle Switchover

Switchover Information for Carlisle

Carlisle SwitchoverWe’re taking random areas of the UK to see what the options are like for TV after the digital tv switchover, both the channel availability for Freeview and the availability of Sky, Virgin Media and BT Broadband/BT Vision services.


The administrative district of Carlisle City Council is covered by the Caldbeck transmitter in the Border TV region and its 48 relays, which switched to digital in two stages on 24th June and 22nd July 2009 and is predicted to cover around 120,000 households. Stage 1 of the switchover will involve BBC2 going digital-only, in other words BBC2 on analogue will be switched off – at the same time the first batch of new Freeview channels will be made available, and in Stage 2 all remaining analogue channels will be switched off and the rest of the new digital channels will appear, although on both dates you will need to retune your Freeview, BT Vision or Top Up TV equipment.

We’ve taken three random postcodes in Carlisle, CA1 2TE in the Durranhill area of Carlisle, CA3 9AQ in Stanwix and CA6 4AA in Rockcliffe. When we tried these in the Digital UK postcode checker we found almost the same result for each – the methods of reception for a one off payment are Freeview, Freesat and Freesat from Sky and available subscription services are BT Vision, Sky and Top Up TV in all three, with the addition of cable company Smallworld in CA3 9AQ. These are the results we got using the BT, Virgin Media and Sky postcode checkers.


BT Postcode Checker

In the BT postcode checker the message was similar for all three of our test postcodes – a good result showing decent broadband speeds.
Here is the message we got for CA1 2TE and CA3 9AQ;

“Your exchange is ADSL enabled, and our initial check on your postcode indicates that your line should be able to have an ADSL broadband service that provides a fixed line rate up to 2Mbps. Our check also indicates that your line currently supports a potential ADSL Max broadband line rate of 4.5Mbps or greater. Our check also indicates that your line currently supports a potential ADSL2+ broadband line rate of 6Mbps or greater. The actual stable line rate supportable will be determined during the first 10 days of use. This rate may change over time, to ensure line stability is maintained. If you decide to place an order, a further www will be performed to confirm if your line is suitable for the service you wish to purchase.”
The message for CA6 4AA was very similar except with speeds of 2Mbps and a potential ADSL Max broadband line rate of 4Mbps or greater.
What does this mean? BT broadband is available to these postcodes and will be fast enough to be able to deliver BT Vision – you need a broadband speed that averages at least 2Mbps for this. It’s advisable to check your own postcode to get your particular line speed, but if you are already a BT broadband customer or are considering BT then BT Vision would be a very good choice for digital TV in this area.

Virgin Media

Virgin Postcode Checker

The general rule with cable services like Virgin TV is you are likely to be able to get it in built-up areas and less likely in rural areas, so with Virgin Media more than any other service we recommend checking your own postcode here – it can vary from street to street.

However, all of our test postcodes came up with the same message – “Your home is not in a Virgin Media cable area so you can’t get our fibre-optic cable services, but you can get our National services. National services up to 16Mb! Our National broadband and phone services are available to all. Unlike our cable services, they’re delivered down your phone line – in just the same way other companies offer it.”
What does this mean? As mentioned above, Virgin Media availability can vary from one street to the next, but in these two cases it means you can get Virgin Media broadband down your phone line but no cable TV services – they offer a Freeview box for £40 but this is not connected to the broadband (the way it would be with BT Vision), it’s just a Freeview box like any other you would get from a shop.


Sky Postcode Checker

For CA1 2TE and CA3 9AQ we got the following message – “Great news, Sky Broadband is currently available in your area. Based on the postcode you have entered there is a good indication you are in a Sky Broadband network area, where Sky Broadband Base, Mid, and Max are currently available. In order to join Sky Broadband you will need an active BT compatible phone line. Sky Broadband is exclusively available to Sky TV customers.”
What does this mean? All of the Sky TV deals and broadband services are available to you.

The message for CA6 4AA was slightly different; “Based on the postcode you have entered, there is a good indication that Sky Broadband Connect, is available in your area. Fast download speeds of up to 8Mb and a massive monthly usage allowance of 40GB can be yours now with Sky Broadband Connect. Please note: broadband speeds vary with location and line quality. In order to join Sky Broadband you will need an active BT compatible phone line.”
What does this mean? It means you can’t get the regular Sky broadband services as your exchange hasn’t been updated yet, but you can receive the 8MB Connect service – this doesn’t affect your ability to get Sky TV in the usual way using a Sky TV box and Sky dish. You need either a BT or Sky phone line – Sky will install a phone line free of charge and then £10 per month is charged. You can still take out any of the broadband TV packages but only with the Connect broadband rather than Base, Mid or Max.

Carlisle is in the Border TV region. The government body Digital UK estimates that 98% of households in the Border region will be able to get 17 channels after switchover, and 53% will be able to pick up more channels than that from the 53 TV channels (plus text and radio services) that will be available.

Freeview Channel Availability

Our three postcodes all showed Freeview results suggesting that 53 channels will be available with good reception after Stage 2 of the switchover. A retune of equipment will be required – more information on that here. Here are the available channels;

Free Channels Available Carlisle

  • BBC1
  • BBC2
  • ITV1
  • 4
  • Five
  • ITV2
  • BBC3
  • BBC4
  • ITV3
  • Sky3
  • 4+1
  • More4
  • 4Music
  • Dave
  • Virgin 1
  • TMF
  • ITV4
  • E4, E4+1
  • ITV2+1
  • Film4
  • Five USA
  • Fiver
  • Smile TV
  • Smile TV2
  • Quest
  • Top Up Anytime 4
  • CBBC
  • CBeebies
  • CITV
  • QVC
  • Ideal World
  • BidTV
  • Gems TV
  • Lottery Xtra
  • Community Channel
  • Teachers TV
  • Netplay TV
  • Super Casino
  • 1-2-1 Dating
  • BBC News
  • BBC Parliament
  • Sky News
  • CNN
  • Sky Sports News
  • Russia Today

Subscription Channels Available

  • UK Style
  • TopUp Anytime 1 *,2 * & 3

Sky TV Starter Deal
Only £20 a month

Sky+ TV, broadband and calls £20 a month. Free Sky+ Box and set-up, up to 2GB broadband usage and included evening and weekend calls.

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Virgin Value Bundle
£20 a month

Virgin TV M+

This bundle has size ‘M+’ TV, that’s 65 channels, TiVo, On Demand & Catch-Up, 10Mb Broadband plus Phone with unlimited weekend calls! £20 a month plus line rental.

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BT Vision Starter Deal
£17 a month

BT TV, Broadband and Calls

£25 Sainsburys Gift Card > Free Vision+ Box > 16Mb Broadband – 10GB usage > Freeview, Catch-Up & Pay per View > Anytime calls > Online only offer

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Top Up TV Favourites
£11.99 a month

Top Up TV TV Favourites

Library of popular TV – over 700 shows to choose from each month including Life on Mars, Little Britain, Lost and many more. Top Up box from £39.99 – £20 set-up.

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