BBC to sublease Freeview capacity

October 26, 2009

Just days after the BBC announced it was to close the News Multiscreen to Freeview viewers, the corporation has advertised ‘spare’ multiplex capacity.

The advertisement in Broadcast magazine invites expressions of interest for two channels that would be able to transmit through until digital switchover in 2012. Two Red Button channels are being lost from tomorrow (October 27). In addition to the News Multiscreen, a second channel typically used for additional sports coverage is also being lost, ostensibly to allow space for high definition broadcasts.

Rahul Chakkara, the BBC’s controller of TV platforms, who has arguably been dealt a bad hand, said he would look up ways to free up additional bandwidth as was done during the 2008 Summer Olympics when BBC Parliament was temporarily taken off the terrestrial platform.

Writing in his BBC blog, Chakkara said the corporation was sub-leasing spectrum in parts of the UK in order to make sure the licence fee payer gets maximum value for money.