01 April 1998

THE GOVERNMENT has confirmed it will lift the ban on TV transmissions by BT from 2001 - one year ahead of the review date promised by the former Tory administration. The decision, which also applies to all other UK-based telecoms operators, was announced by trade and industry secretary Margaret Beckett. Details of the new regime, pithily titled Broadband Britain: A Fresh look at the Broadcast Entertainment Restrictions can be downloaded from a government-sponsored Web site ( broadband). A cryptic comment on the government’s decision was voiced by Cable Communications Association chief executive, Bob Frost: ‘Technology has taken over from words on a piece of paper’. He forecast that by 2001 the UK cable industry will have completed its networks, be accessible to 17 million of the UK’s 22m homes, and ‘happy to compete with anyone’.