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BBC Three’s online-only exodus postponed until after Christmas

BBC Three WON’T move exclusively to iPlayer until after Christmas – pending approval from the BBC Trust. 

The current plans involved BBC Three being booted off the airwaves to make way for the BBC One+1 timeshift channel. Content that would have otherwise ended up on BBC Three will go to either BBC One, BBC Two or to a new portal on BBC iPlayer. 

Following in the footsteps of youth-skewed comedy pilots, the new version of BBC Three would be aimed at a younger demographic that consumes most of its content online. 

BBC Three: What’s happening?While this was originally slated to happen at some point this Autumn, BBC Three’s controller Damian Kavanagh has refused to pull the plug until everything’s ready. 

Kavanagh said: “Once we have the Trust’s final decision we’ll start doing more online and in social building up to a move online only after Christmas. 

“This will make sure BBC Three fans come with us and we can tell them we are moving. You simply can’t turn round something as ground-breaking as this overnight. We won’t be rushed. We will do what’s right for our fans, not to satisfy deadlines.”

Before anything can happen, the Trust needs to launch a 28-day consultation seeking input from the industry and the public on the channel’s fate – and this might not be launched until the summer.

In that case, the BBC won’t rush anything to meet the previous Autumn deadline – which was a provisional deadline anyway.  

It’s not clear if the BBC is waiting until the current BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) scheme has finished rolling out a basic broadband service to every British doorstep

Because BBC iPlayer needs at least 2Mbps of bandwidth to work, licence fee payers who can’t yet get an adequate service risk losing access to an online-only BBC Three. This isn’t due to happen until the end 2016. 

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