HC Deb 04 March 1998 vol 307 cc671-2W
Mr. Todd

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to ensure that digital broadcasting does not rely on use of digital decoder technology controlled by a monopoly supplier. [31746]

Mr. Fisher

It is for broadcasters and receiver manufacturers to determine the decoder technology used to deliver digital services to the consumer, subject to the provisions of the Broadcasting Act 1996 and the Advanced Television Services Regulations 1996.

The Government's main aim is to ensure fair access to systems for service providers to enable the delivery of services to viewers. The Broadcasting Act 1996 encourages multiplex licensees to co-operate in ensuring interoperability. The regulations ensure that service providers can reach viewers through any set top box on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms whether proprietary technology is involved or not. The provisions of general competition law to prevent abuse of any monopoly position which might emerge are being strengthened by the provisions of the Competition Bill [Lords] currently before Parliament.