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Consultation launched over BBC Three EPG slot

BBC Three identDigital UK, the organisation that manages the Freeview EPG, has launched a consultation about what should happen to BBC Three’s channel slot after it goes online only.

BBC Three currently occupies channel seven on the electronic programme guide of the Freeview digital terrestrial platform. Digital UK said the consultation will seek to ensure that “any agreement with channel providers is made on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms”.

Digital UK’s recommended option for the EPG position is to extend the reservation of channel number eight for local TV to cover all territories – a move that would see BBC Alba / Channel 4 Wales take up position seven with local TV reservations in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales moved up to channel eight.

Another proposed option is to place BBC Alba, Channel 4 (Wales), local TV reservation in England and Northern Ireland on channel seven, move BBC Four up one place to channel eight and move the local TV reservation in Scotland and Wales to channel nine.

The BBC Trust approved in November plans to close down BBC Three as a broadcast channel and move it online, with closure due to be phased in over the first two months of next year.

Digital UK is a not for profit organisation owned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Arqiva. The company provides operational support for the Freeview platform, including management of the Freeview electronic programme guide, and helps to develop DTT strategy in partnership with broadcast partners and industry. It also provides viewers with information and advice about terrestrial TV channels, services and reception.

The Digital UK consultation closes on 22 January 2016, with responses invited from channel providers and other stakeholders in the DTT platform.