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ITV Digital

Culture Media and Sport written question – answered on 1st May 2002.

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Photo of Mr Tony Colman Mr Tony Colman Labour, Putney

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the future of ITV Digital.

Photo of Tessa Jowell Tessa Jowell The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

In my statement on ITV Digital on 26 April 2002, Hansard, column 594, I promised that I would continue to keep the House updated in coming weeks. Since then, the administrator has surrendered the three multiplex service licences held by ITV Digital, and the pay services are no longer available.

As I suggested would happen in my statement last week, the Independent Television Commission is now beginning a re-tendering process, on an accelerated time scale with a view to awarding licences at the end of a six-week period. I understand that, during this period, the ITC will liaise with the administrator and broadcasters providing the digital terrestrial free-to-air services with a view to ensuring that ITV Digital subscribers will continue to be able to receive these channels, including the five main terrestrial channels, through their set top box. We expect that companies interested may wish to use the ITV Digital assets, and that they will liaise with the administrator to do so. There is a real opportunity to benefit from the expertise and technical experience now existing, enabling a successful business to emerge, and ensuring we maintain our world leadership in digital television.

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