Feeds

Beeb shuts down Jam education website

Internet no place for free stuff, says EC

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators
Democrats needed just TWO more votes to keep alive bill reining in some surveillance
prev story

Whitepapers

Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.