The BBC has been ordered to justify its £100m annual internet services spend by the end of June.
It must prove to the government that it has met the objectives outlined in its original submission under Lord Birt, former director general of the BBC. This report will then form part of a wider review of BBC Online, according to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
The key objectives that the BBC agreed to meet were to provide original and unique content and to guide new users of the internet.
But the corporation has been accused of moving into areas where services could be provided by the commercial sector rather than limiting itself to providing sites with a public service remit.
The £100m equates to about 3.9 per cent of the £2.5bn the BBC raises from licence fees each year, and works out at around £5 per person.
This covers not only online services but infrastructure and staffing costs, a BBC spokesman told vnunet.com.
Tessa Jowell, the culture secretary, said the BBC report would be handed to an independent reviewer whose appointment will be announced in the next few weeks. The public will also be able to voice its views, during a public consultation that will be set up later in the summer.
"I will set detailed terms of reference for the independent review, which will include a public consultation, once the appointment of a reviewer has been made," said Jowell.
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