BBC signs fat Net deals

US Net investor and Telewest get involved

The BBC has signed two deals regarding its controversial Internet activities. US Internet investor TH Lee will take a minority stake in Auntie's two commercial Web sites - beeb.com and freebeeb.net - for £32.5 million, and telecoms firm Telewest has signed a content-delivery deal.

The BBC has been under fire concerning its Internet policy, with people asking whether licence-fee money should be spent on a highly competitive and commercial enterprise (we personally think the BBC is right, and its news site is proof of it). The argument lead to beeb.com and freebeeb.net becoming separately funded, and TH Lee's investment will presumably enable them to continue.

The Telewest content deal lasts until 2006 and gives its customers access to the BBC's digital services including TV channels and future interactive services. The size of the deal is not known. ®

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