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free satellite TV could be the answer to digital switchover

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Ofcom, the UK supra watchdog, is considering whether to intervene to ensure the digital switchover is carried out on time in Britain. "The market alone will not deliver switchover. It is time for the UK digital TV project to change gear and move from planning to implementation," the regulator said.

As part of the report Ofcom unveiled plans that could see the regulator backing a digital satellite rival to BSkyB.

"Free-to-view digital satellite could play an important role in increasing take-up among those who do not want pay TV. But free-to-view access to all the public service broadcasters is currently not possible on digital satellite. Ofcom will consider whether regulatory intervention is needed to secure a viable free-to-view satellite proposition," the report said.

The plans seem to back the BBC's controversial decision last year to drop BSkyB carriage and go unencrypted on another satellite, so satellite TV viewers could get BBC channels without paying a Sky subscription.

Ofcom also proposed to establish a new implementation body, which should "have the necessary funding, remit, leadership, resources and sufficient independence to encourage greater take-up of digital TV and to manage the difficult process of full switchover in the near future."