BBC Trust gives nod to Freesat

hamba

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BBC Trust gives nod to Freesat

The BBC Trust has given provisional approval to the corporation's long-awaited plans for a Freesat service that would offer free digital television by satellite.

The trust, which succeeded the board of governors this year as the BBC's ultimate regulatory body, said the service would "create significant public value" by offering a new way of accessing digital TV services.

BBC managers have drawn up plans for a Freesat service to be run as a joint venture with other public service broadcasters.

Freesat was first proposed in 2003 and then outlined formally by the BBC and ITV in September 2005, when it was envisaged it would launch in the first half of 2006.

The thinking behind Freesat is to give an extra boost to the take-up of digital TV.

The BBC is particularly eager to expand access because of criticism that while all licence fee payers fund its digital services, not all of them can receive them without paying a subscription to satellite or cable.

At the moment Freeview, the digital terrestrial service that does not require subscription, reaches only three-quarters of UK homes, though its penetration will increase as digital transmission signals are strengthened in coming years.

With 7 million households, mainly in rural areas, still analogue-only just a year before the region-by-region switch-off of the analogue signal starts, Freesat is one way of helping to speed up the transition.

The new service would compete with an existing subscription-free satellite service that has been run by BSkyB since October 2004.

Sky's offering provides free access to 120 satellite TV channels and 80 radio stations for a one-off installation charge of £150.

The BBC Trust opened a consultation on the matter today and intends to make its final decision in April.

"Over half of those yet to switch [to digital TV] fall outside the Freeview coverage area," said the BBC acting chairman, Chitra Bharucha.

"For these homes, the new service would mean being able to access BBC digital services they have already paid for via their licence fee but until now have been unable to receive on a guaranteed subscription-free basis."

She added that Freesat would be in the public interest and encouraged other public service broadcasters to enter into a joint venture with the BBC to get it launched.







Chris Tryhorn
Tuesday February 27, 2007
MediaGuardian.co.uk
© Guardian News and Media Limited 2007
 

pinkhelmets

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She added that Freesat would be in the public interest and encouraged other public service broadcasters to enter into a joint venture with the BBC to get it launched.
Wonder if Virgin have made the call yet? Feel the VIBE - Virgin Itv Bbc Entertainment looks promising already, channel4 will soon be left behind if they dont get in quick.
 

dont do it it"ll hurt

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if this happens i can see sly getting a big cut in profits and someone is going for a lang walk down the unemployment line
 

digidude

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aint it funny how this is suddenly sealed once sky and virgin start fighting, it can only be a good thing if you ask me
 
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