The Government’s White Paper on the future of the BBC has been issued and says it will provide the BBC long term stability and a strong foundation for it to continue to inform, educate and entertain the entire British public.
The new charter will run for 11 years to separate it from the political cycle. It’ll be under a new unitary board of 12 – 14 members with the BBC being responsible for appointing at least half of them. Ofcom will become the external independent regulator, as recommended by an independent review.
The Government expects the BBC to support the transition from analogue to digital radio and to strengthen its partnerships with commercial radio and industry stakeholders. A decision on the digital switchover is likely to be taken at some point during the next charter period and the Government would expect that the BBC completes the final phase of its national DAB network so coverage is equal to that of FM.
BBC Nations services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland DAB coverage should also match FM coverage. Appropriate enhancements should also be made to its local DAB coverage in England. There will also need to be arrangements with third party organisations, as appropriate, to support the most vulnerable listeners at risk of losing BBC radio services after a switchover.
There’s a new partnership with local news providers, which builds on proposals set out last September. This is intended to support local democracy and includes 150 additional local news journalists.
The licence fee is to remain but will increase in line with inflation for 5 years from 2017/18. The charter will also allow the BBC to pilot some elements of subscription in addition to their current services.