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BBC looks to grab internet TV market

Project Canvas is go

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The BBC Trust has given the go-ahead for the corporation to push on with providing internet access to the TV, via a set-top box.

The project has already been heavily criticised by rival broadcasters like Sky, which of course has a decent-sized broadband internet access business of its own.

But it was further bolstered last week when Channel 4 and ISP Talk Talk joined up. The consortium of six firms is now looking for "expressions of interest" for other partners to join the platform.

Project Canvas is not home and dry yet, although a 2010 launch is still possible. It has been given a provisional pass by the BBC Trust, according to the FT.

Project Canvas Programme Director Richard Halton commented: "Internet-connectivity is going to have a transformational effect on TV.

"By seamlessly converging broadband and broadcast content, Project Canvas can help secure the future of free-to-air broadcasting and create an open platform that gives online services a route to the TV set.

Project Canvas now includes the BBC, ITV, BT, Five, Channel 4 and Talk Talk. Sky is likely to vocally object to the Trust's apparent approval - its press office was unavailable at press time.

The agreement could also attract attention from competition authorities concerned about unfair state aid. ®

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