U.K. Parliament Committee: TV Should Be Broadcast Over Internet

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Following the switch to digital TV earlier this year, the committee suggests to free airwaves up for mobile phones, but cautions that broadband infrastructure may need more work.

LONDON - The U.K. recently switched to digital television, but now a parliamentary committee says that all TV should be broadcast over the Internet in the future to make airwaves available for mobile phones.

The Guardian reported that the House of Lords, one of the two houses of the British parliament, is suggesting that the government draw up plans to have all channels, including BBC networks, broadcast over the Internet. It didn't suggest a time frame for the transition.

"Eventually the case for transferring the carriage of broadcast content, including public service broadcasting, from spectrum to the Internet altogether will become overwhelming," the paper quoted the communications committee of the House of Lords as saying in a report to be published Tuesday.

The move to the web could potentially lead to the launch of new networks in the U.K. Earlier this year, Britain's 26 million TV households finished their move from analog to digital, which increased the number of terrestrial channels from five to 50. But the Internet could transmit an unlimited amount of content at a lower cost.

However, Britain needs better broadband networks to move TV signals to the Internet, the parliamentary committee warned. It described current government strategy as "flawed" and likely to widen the digital divide between areas with fast web access and those elsewhere.

"If broadcast services move to be delivered via the Internet, then key moments in national life, such as the Olympics, could be inaccessible to communities lacking a better communications infrastructure," the Guardian quoted committee chairman Lord Inglewood as saying.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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