BBC Trust final conclusions on "Freesat"
What has the Trust decided?
The BBC Trust has decided to approve the proposition that the BBC invests in a joint venture to offer a national satellite based free-to-view digital service. The Trust has imposed the following conditions to this approval:
A requirement that the funding arrangements for the participation of other broadcasters in "Freesat" are such that it can be demonstrated that those other broadcasters are not being subsidised by the licence fee.
A requirement that the BBC should keep its interaction with Freeview operationally separate from its involvement with "Freesat" to minimise any potential effect on competition.
The BBC, through its role in the Joint Venture, must retain sufficient control over the decisions taken by the Joint Venture to ensure that the BBC's public service objectives are not undermined.
The BBC, through its role in the Joint Venture, should ensure that there is always an ability to access "Freesat" on a subscription-free basis.
In addition to these conditions of approval, the Trust considers it important that in implementing the "Freesat" proposal the BBC Executive is mindful of the following points, which the Trust considers to be important to the success of the venture.
Ensuring that arrangements to secure the necessary quality and technical standards of the receivers and Electronic Programme Guide required to access "Freesat" are put in place.
Taking all reasonable steps to ensure that "Freesat" is able to co-exist with other digital television platforms without impairing their technical operations.
There have been some detailed responses to the consultation about how the requirement for separation between "Freesat" and Freeview will work in light of any legitimate contact between the two ventures, for instance, in the context of Digital Switchover. A body of technical matters has also been raised in the consultation responses. These have been noted and the Trust considers that, in implementing the proposition, the BBC should, where confidentiality requests allow, take these into account as appropriate.
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