BBC May Launch Broadband Service

The BBC had planning meetings to explore the possibility of providing a cheap broadband service to UK homes. Ashley Highfield told the Guardian newspaper: “A few people have come together to see if we could put a low-end connected PC into the market. Could we do it? I don’t know, but we would have to be clear about why.”

This is something that’s obviously been on Ashley Highfield’s mind as he hinted at a service in response to a question from our own Simon Perry at the FT New Media and Broadcasting conference back in March.

Mr Highfield is determined to overcome the UK’s perceived “digital divide” by perhaps offering a low-cost terminal and connection, in a similar fashion to the successful Freeview service.

Highfield also has plans for a new BBC search engine, to help break up the American dominance of the search engine field. With all major search engines owned by American organisations, a British internet search funded by the license fee was welcomed by the Graf report.


The Guardian

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?