The digital TV switchover will be timed so that Londoners will be able to watch the 2012 Olympics in high definition - for free.

Regulator Ofcom announced on Friday that it will happen in time for new free-to-air high-definition channels to be launched on the Freeview service.

Greg Bensberg, principal advisor on broadcasting for Ofcom, confirmed that the digital switchover for London is now scheduled for 2011 – with a licence that guarantees it to be completed by April 2012.

This will allow enough time for the new free-to-air HD channels to be launched on Freeview, well in advance of the start of the sporting action.

At the 2008 summit of the Digital TV Group (DTG) on Friday, held at BAFTA in Central London, Bensberg laid out an overview of the switchover, which has already begun with a successful switchover to all-digital TV in Whitehaven. Selkirk will be next this November, with Wales and the West Country to follow next year.

More after the break