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Thursday, 16 May, 2002, 19:37 GMT 20:37 UK
Bidders close in on ITV Digital licence
ITV Digital logo
Licences could prove useful for terrestrial broadcasters
The Independent Television Commission has received "several expressions of interest" in the broadcasting licences previously held by the collapsed ITV Digital.

The deadline for potential bidders to express an interest was 1700 BST on Thursday.

Companies have until 30 May to decide whether to bid and prepare a formal application.

The ITC cannot reveal how many companies are involved, or their names.

Better bandwidth

But it is well-known that most of the terrestrial broadcasters - such as BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5 - have been negotiating to form a consortium to bid for the three licences.

Also believed to have expressed interest is SDN - part owned by Welsh-language broadcaster S4C - United News and Media and NTL .

The terrestrial broadcasters want the licences in order to improve the quality of the free-to-air channels they broadcast digitally, by exploiting better bandwidth.

These include BBC One, Two, ITV, Channel 4 and 5 as well as BBC News 24, BBC Choice, BBC Four and ITV2.

Joint bid

The channels have not reached agreement on how to structure any consortium yet and are believed to have submitted separate letters of interest.

They will be locked in negotiations over the next fortnight to work out some sort of joint bid.

One smaller bidder is from a call centre business in Scotland that works for the BBC's digital services and other broadcasters.

MGt, based in Kirkcaldy, Fife, says it is considering making a bid to transmit several existing television channels.

See also:

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