Satellite partner needed for switchover



The BBC has called for a free-to-air satellite service to be introduced alongside Freeview to help bridge a digital divide.

Completing the digital jigsaw, the corporation said today, could be assisted with the development of a “viewer-friendly, non-subscription digital satellite option”.

Andy Duncan, director of marketing, communications and audience at the BBC, said: "The BBC fully recognises that digital switchover has the potential to bring great economic, social and cultural value to Britain.

"Most importantly we are focused on our audiences and are aware of the danger of a deeper digital divide.

"By working with like-minded partners we would like to see an additional route to digital access - free-to-air digital satellite - become a viable and attractively simple option.

"This will ensure all our audiences can have access to the BBC's comprehensive portfolio of digital services and the fully digital world."

To further push forward the switchover to full digital services, the BBC urged the government to make a “clear commitment to establishing a regional switchover sequence”.

Culture, media and sport minister, Tessa Jowell, said the government “absolutely committed to working with the industry to achieve switchover.

She added: “The potential rewards, including more choice for consumers and more space for new services, are too great for us not to be.

"The fact that half of homes in the UK now have access to digital TV shows there is a considerable appetite for the product out there.

"Of course there are obstacles along the way, many of which are highlighted in this report.

“We are working closely with stakeholders to determine the actions needed to overcome these in the journey to switchover. This report will help us focus on the challenges ahead."