South Somerset Switchover

Switchover Information for South Somerset

South Somerset 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 digital TV packages.

South Somerset

The administrative district of South Somerset is covered by two transmitters in two different TV regions, Stockland Hill in the South West TV region and Mendip in the West TV region. Stockland Hill transmitter and its 24 relays will go digital in two stages on 6th May and 20th May 2009 and is predicted to cover around 120,000 households, including parts of South Somerset such as Yeovil, while the Mendip transmitter and its 58 relays (covering the majority of South Somerset among a predicted 720,000 households) is not switching until 24th March and 7th April 2010. In each case 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 four random postcodes in South Somerset, two of them switching in May 2009 – BA20 1DG in Yeovil and TA19 9BS in Ilminster – and two switching with the Mendip transmitter in 2010 – TA20 1EZ in Chard and BA9 9RF in Wincanton. When we tried these in the Digital UK postcode checker we found exactly 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. 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 the same for all four of our test postcodes – a good result showing fast broadband speeds.
Here is the message we got;

“We’ve just wwwed your line and can confirm your line supports the UK’s most complete broadband package, BT Total Broadband. We estimate your maximum download speed to be 6.5 Mbps (Megabits per second).”
What does this mean? BT broadband is available to all of 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 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.

Again, 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 Virgin TV packages – 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

South Somerset seems to be very consistent in these wwws, as we got the same message for all four postcodes from Sky too; “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 TV deals and 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.


South Somerset is split between the West Country and West TV regions. The government body Digital UK estimates that 96% of households in the West Country region and 99% of those in the West region will be able to get 17 channels after switchover, and 74% in the West Country and 94% in the West will be able to pick up more channels than that from the 47 TV channels (plus text and radio services) that will be available.

Freeview Channel Availability

Our four postcodes all showed Freeview results suggesting that 46 channels will be available with good reception after Stage 2 of their respective switchovers (20th May 2009 or 7th April 2010) except for BA9 9RF in Wincanton, which will not have all 46 at good reception until 2012 – more details below. A retune of equipment will be required – more information on that here. Here are the channels;

Free Channels Available South Somerset

  • BBC1
  • BBC2
  • ITV1
  • 4
  • Five
  • ITV2
  • BBC3
  • BBC4
  • ITV3
  • Sky3
  • 4+1
  • More4
  • Dave
  • ITV4
  • UKTV History
  • E4, E4+1
  • Fiver
  • Smile TV
  • Smile TV2
  • CBBC
  • CBeebies
  • CITV
  • QVC
  • BidTV
  • Community Channel
  • Teachers TV
  • BBC News
  • BBC Parliament
  • Sky News
  • Sky Sports News
  • UKTV History
  • 4 Music
  • Virgin 1
  • TMF
  • ITV2+1
  • Film4
  • Ideal World
  • Gems TV
  • Lottery Xtra

Subscription Channels Available

  • UKTV Style
  • Top Up TV Anytime 1, 2 & 3
  • TVX/Red Hot (Adult)

Please note that our switchover pages refer to the switchover dates and channel information at the time of writing, which is generally pre-switchover, and for most areas circumstances will have since changed.

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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