BBC director-general Mark Thompson has said Britain should plan for a second stage of digital take-up beyond the transition from analogue to digital television.
In an article in the Financial Times, the DG wrote that a roadmap was needed for the next stage in the development of high-speed broadband and mobile. “PSBs working together could stimulate public excitement around the uptake of universal high-speed broadband and the development of new mobile services.”
Thompson said the industry should take the critical steps towards a major restructuring that were needed to ensure the UK could both thrive in the UK and compete internationally. He warned that the sector should avoid the temptation to “create yet more new entities and new structures”.
According to Thompson the proposal of ‘top-slicing’ the licence fee for the benefit of cash-strapped Channel 4 was no longer the solution and that the problem itself was not what it first appeared to be. The remarks have been interpreted as tacit approval for a merger between public corporation Channel 4 and the RTL-owned Five.
Thompson said the initial diagnosis of the problem missed its most serious challenge. “how public service television can migrate beyond traditional television to digital platforms; and how inspiring content, delivered in services that are free at the point of use, can stimulate demand for universal high-speed broadband.”