Letter: Battle for the digital airwaves

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The Independent Online
Sir: Jeremy Warner was, unusually, misguided in his piece (12 April) on the contest for the ITC's Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) licences. Most importantly, Digital Television Network (DTN) has at no point advocated splitting the award of the licences. We have, by far, the better thought-out proposal. If the ITC opt for an approach whereby DTT competes directly with digital satellite services, then the logic must be to award all three multiplexes to DTN, otherwise we would be competing with BSkyB with one hand tied behind our backs.

Mr Warner suggests that there are doubts about the commercial viability of DTT. Our experience in the multi-channel television market shows us that there is a very attractive commercial opportunity. This now seems increasingly to be the view in the City. The market for multi-channel television has been artificially constrained by the high entry price levied by BSkyB and the inflexible way in which only large bundles of programming are offered to the viewer.

The best future for British broadcasting is to have DTT as a competitor to digital satellite. BSkyB has clearly indicated that it will always give priority to its satellite business, the other British Digital Broadcasting shareholders also have substantial other broadcasting businesses whose interests they may wish to promote in preference to the digital terrestrial platform.

In contrast, DTN's bid has an unambiguous, well-funded and clear-sighted objective of spreading DTT take-up as quickly as possible.

JAMES GATWARD

Chairman

Digital Television Network

London SW1

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