Feeds

Beeb shuts down Jam education website

Internet no place for free stuff, says EC

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The BBC has suspended its free online education website after complaints from commercial providers.

BBC Jam offered resources and assistance to school children aged five to 16 based around the national curriculum. It went online in 2006 and was rolling out service incrementally, aiming for full coverage in 2008.

The site has 170,000 registered users and employed 200 staff, whose future is now uncertain. The Jam budget was £150m, £45m of which was intended to be used for commissioning from independent private-sector companies. It was approved for launch by both the UK and European Union in 2003.

Following the fully-publicised "hard" launch of Jam last October, paid-for online education providers complained to the European Commission (EC) that the service was unfairly hurting their business. The Beeb had already planned a review of Jam's market impact for later in 2007, but the EC asked for a separate one.

Acting BBC chairman Chitra Bharucha said: "We have considered the European Commission's request – in light of industry's allegations of non-compliance – to subject BBC Jam to a separate review, in advance of that already scheduled for later this year. The trust's view is that two consecutive regulatory reviews would be unnecessarily bureaucratic and complex, with serious implications for delivery of the service to licence fee payers.

"Overall we have concluded that the best approach is to suspend the service in full now and request BBC management to prepare fresh proposals for how the BBC meets its public purpose of promoting formal education in the context of school age children.

"We regret the need to suspend BBC Jam during this process and apologise to its users, the BBC staff who have worked on the service to date, suppliers, and the independent production companies affected by this decision."

The Beeb is still required by its charter to promote education and learning, and the licence-payers have to cough up their £150m willy-nilly. Whether the BBC can actually deliver the service without upsetting commercial interests and the EC remains to be seen. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer quits Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.