BBC ready for 24-hour news

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BBC 24-hour television news was yesterday given the Government green light for a launch next month. The service will be seen first by 1.5 million viewers in five cable areas and on BBC1 overnight.

The Government licence for the pounds 30m-a-year service, called BBC News 24, was the last hurdle to be crossed before it could go on air. The first fruit of the BBC's plans for new digital services, BBC News 24 runs ahead of the digital age itself.

Satellite and terrestrial digital services have been delayed beyond their expected launch this autumn and will now become available next year.