Television: Digital Broadcasting

(asked on 5th July 2023) - View Source

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of the Media Bill on access to digital terrestrial television in the period to 2040.

Answered by
John Whittingdale Portrait
John Whittingdale
This question was answered on 12th July 2023

The Government remains committed to the future of digital terrestrial television (DTT), the technology which underpins Freeview. Millions of households across the UK rely on DTT, particularly rural communities and older people.

We also recognise the crucial role that DTT services play in the wider UK broadcasting system, in particular in helping ensure that public service content continues to be widely available and free-to-air to all audiences.

For these reasons, the Government has already legislated to secure the continuity of DTT until at least 2034.

As the sector evolves, it is right that we continue to evaluate the future distribution of television services. To that end, and as set out in the Broadcasting White Paper, the Government has asked Ofcom to continue to track changes in DTT viewing and to undertake an early review on market changes that may affect the future of content distribution before the end of 2025.

Before any decisions about the future of terrestrial television are made, close consideration will be given to how any changes would impact audiences, and especially those who rely on DTT as their primary means of watching television.

Separately, the Media Bill will reform decades-old laws to turbocharge the growth potential of our world-leading public service broadcasters (PSBs). The Government has published impact assessments for the draft Media Bill and, as is usual practice, an updated set will be submitted to the Regulatory Policy Committee for independent scrutiny, and published when the Bill is introduced.

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