Hong Kong – The Broadcasting Authority has given approval for Asia Television Limited (ATV) and Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) to extend the coverage of their digital terrestrial television services to 85% by December 31, and extended the exemption for city-wide coverage to 30 June 2010. According to the Broadcasting Ordinance, ATV and TVB must ensure their television programme services can be received throughout Hong Kong to the authority’s satisfaction. However, the ordinance also empowers the authority to exempt the licensees from providing coverage to certain parts of Hong Kong. The two licensees plan to extend their digital terrestrial television service coverage to 85% of the population before the end of 2009, and bring the digital coverage on a par with the current analogue coverage – 99% of the population – by 2011. After consideration of the licensees’ network roll-out plans and the advice of the Office of the Telecommunications Authority, the broadcasting authority decided to extend the exemption for city-wide coverage. The exemption is specific to the licensee’s digital terrestrial television coverage. The two licensees will continue to be required to provide their analogue TV services on a city-wide basis up to the authority’s satisfaction. The authority also approved ATV’s application to change the launch date of its standard definition television channel on the digital terrestrial television platform from July 1 to October 1. The company has pledged that this channel will consist of at least 20% locally produced programmes.