HC Deb 07 September 2004 vol 424 c1222W
Mr. Rosindell

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many more Freeview broadcasting licences the Government are planning to grant. [186858]

Estelle Morris

Digital television services, except those provided by the BBC, S4C and TeleG, are licensed by the Office of Communications (Ofcom) under the powers granted to it by the Broadcasting Acts of 1990, 1996 and the Communications Act 2003. With the exception of the public service channels (Channel 3, 4 and 5), the choice of whether a licensed television programme service is available free of charge or as part of a subscription package is for the broadcaster to decide. Where services are to be broadcast via satellite, Ofcom does not limit the number of licences available to either pay-TV or free channels and it will#issue licences to any eligible organisation wishing to broadcast television programme services provided they meet the relevant regulatory requirements, for example as to content, advertising and sponsorship issues. In relation to the digital terrestrial platform, however, spectrum capacity is a key factor in determining how many services may be licensed at any one time.