LONDON: UK broadcasting rivals, the publicly-funded BBC and commercial giant ITV, have united to launch a new free-to-view satellite television service which promises more than 80 channels.

The Freesat service, available for a one-off payment of £49.99 ($97.84; €63.49), will be receivable in rural areas not covered by the hugely popular digital terrestrial Freeview platform.

Freesat is expected reach 98% of the population, even to those who are unable to receive DTV through an aerial.

It will also offer high definition programming, which is currently available only to pay-TV subscribers at BSkyB and Virgin Media.

Freeview plans to carry HD channels from 2009 or 2010.

Data sourced from Brand Republic (UK); additional content by WARC staff