Roly Keating, the controller of BBC2, has said he intends to make the channel the first mainstream TV station to broadcast via broadband.
Speaking at the recent Broadcasting Commissioning Conference in Manchester, he said that a pilot of the broadband service is scheduled for next year. It will run concurrently with further trials of the MyBBCPlayer technology, which will enable viewers to download and watch BBC content on demand.
Keating revealed his vision of an online BBC2 mixing "simulcast programming" and "comprehensive catch-up”. He said the channel would be "in the front line" of launching on broadband, becoming more “open and connective than we've ever been before".
However, such a move will still need the approval of the BBC governors.
Simulcast effectively means letting UK viewers see programmes on the web at the same time as they go out on TV. For copyright reasons it is thought that viewing on the web will be restricted to UK users.
Meanwhile, BBC2 will become the first of the five main channels to become digital-only in the weeks immediately before analogue broadcast signals are turned off in regions across the UK between 2008 and 2012.
Ian Fogg, Broadband and VoIP analyst, JupiterResearch said: “The big issue about this is what will be the impact on the likes of NTL/Telewest, BT and BSkyB. As internet service providers they have content of their own and the question is how will they feel about consumers watching some of the same content over the internet through a service like this?”
“The other big question is that of copyright. A lot of BBC content is made by independent production houses who may retain the rights to content being made available over the internet. So that may impact how much content is available in this way.”
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