BBC Three may not be bumped off the airwaves and reincarnated online until March 2016, a BBC Executive report has said.
Originally due to be bumped off before Christmas this year, the due date for BBC Three departure from TV planners was pushed back until January next year.
Now it looks like it could be hanging around for a while longer, in order to make the transition from broadcast to the web easier.
However the BBC Three that will exist from January onwards will be a temporary channel, aimed at easing the passing of the much-loved digital TV channel that began life as BBC Choice, way back in 1998.
At the same time, it’s expected that BBC One and BBC Two will start carrying content that would otherwise be broadcast on BBC Three in the evening. The BBC Executive Board reasoned that ‘later night slots are the most favourable for younger audiences’.
The report expects that the transitional channel will be enough to communicate the change and that because roughly 11 million homes have access to connected TVs.
No mention is made of the other 19 million-odd homes without connected TVs or customers without access to Internet services good enough to provide access to BBC iPlayer. The only time ‘broadband’ is even mentioned in the report is in relation to BBC One +1, the mooted timeshift channel that was shot down by the BBC Trust back in June.
BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK), the government’s broadband upgrade project that’s been partially fed by licence fee money, may not have finished delivering a basic 2Mbps service by March 2016.
2Mbps is the minimum amount of bandwidth required for BBC iPlayer to work. While many BBC Three viewers will be able to access live streams and catch-up on their phones, they’ll need to be able to get a decent enough service in their area.
EE recently announced that its 4G network now covers 90 per cent of the UK and plans to have 99 per cent of folks able to get double-digit download speeds on their phones by 2017 – again too late to be of any help for BBC Three viewers who face losing out on the new channel.
The BBC Executive Board is the body that’s in charge of running the BBC. It’s responsible for the actual management and delivery of the BBC’s services.
The BBC Trust’s role is to oversee the operations of the BBC and ensure that it delivers the best value for money for licence fee payers and help define BC policy along with the Executive Board.