This statement sets out Ofcom's decision on a proposal from BBC Free to View Ltd (the "BBC") to vary the terms of its multiplex licence for Multiplex B.
Under the BBC's proposals, its licence would be varied to allow it to restrict access to broadcast Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) data to only those High Definition (HD) Digital Terrestrial (DTT) receivers which include content management technology. This technology would enable broadcasters to control the multiple unauthorised copying of broadcast HD content and its retransmission over the internet.
The decision to include content management technologies in HD Freeview receivers was made by the Digital Television Group (DTG) prior to the BBC's proposal. However, compliance with the DTG specifications is not mandatory and the BBC's proposal to limit access to HD EPG data to receivers that implement the technology is intended to minimise the number of receivers that do not implement the technology.
Without this change, the BBC argues that the ability of broadcasters on the HD DTT platform to secure content from third party rights holders on similar terms to those on other platforms would be reduced, thus limiting the range of broadcast content available to viewers on the HD DTT platform.
Ofcom issued an initial consultation in September 2009. Following receipt of responses to that consultation, Ofcom issued a second consultation on the BBC's request for licence amendment in January this year ("the Consultation") and a full assessment of responses is provided in sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 of this document.