Report of the Independent Review Panel on The Future Funding of the BBC

The role for the BBC (p 80)

"It is inevitable that a digital licence supplement will be proportionately a larger disincentive to poor people than to the better off. This may well exacerbate the problem which is already caused by the expense of the technology itself. Therefore, the BBC should allocate part of its enhance revenue from the digital licence supplement to specific action to increase access to digital services, and to make them more understandable and approachable for people who might be intimidated by this new technology.

(Box describes BBC's campaigns Computers Don't Bite and Webwise. ..."It is vital that the BBC's public services remain free at the point of use. It is also a duty of a public service broadcaster to be a pioneer in new technologies and to educate people about them. This role should continue even after the large majority of the population have access to digital broadcasting at home )

"More needs to be done, however, to inform and educate the public about the benefits of digital broadcasting and the Internet. We recommend, therefore, that the BBC allocates part of its enhanced revenue from the digital licence supplement to build on these important campaigns and initiatives, and to make its digital and online services available in even more public places on a permanent basis. This will enable those who do not have access to these technologies at home, in school, college or work, to see at first hand the BBC's portfolio of services. Moreover, the BBC must be prepared to work in even more ambitious partnerships - with public, not for profit and private organisations - to ensure wide public access to its services. The development of a community-based television channel in conjunction with the charitable sector merits attention".

Report of the Independent Review Panel on The Future Funding of the BBC. Published by DCMS July 1999.

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