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Last Updated: Monday, 28 January 2008, 15:02 GMT
Trust approves new Gaelic service
BBC Gaelic news website
The new service will be available on the internet
The BBC Trust has given its go-ahead for BBC Scotland and Gaelic Media Service (GMS) to launch their planned Gaelic Digital Service (GDS).

The trust said its approval was subject to certain conditions - including that it launch on cable, satellite and broadband initially.

A review of the service will be carried out before it is considered for broadcast on Freeview.

The trust said it expected the GDS to launch early in the summer.

BBC Scotland, GMS and Western Isles MP, Angus MacNeil, and MSP, Alasdair Allan, welcomed the decision.

Jeremy Peat
The trust believes this service will offer public value and be culturally significant for both Gaelic speakers and Scotland as a whole
Jeremy Peat
BBC national trustee

Minister of State at the Scotland Office, David Cairns, said it was right the trust had looked carefully at the plan, but added it would make an "invaluable contribution" to Gaelic.

Jeremy Peat, BBC national trustee for Scotland, said BBC Scotland and GMS must work towards markedly improving the quality and quantity of broadcasts to support the Gaelic language.

He said: "The trust has given the go-ahead for the GDS to launch, but with conditions and some changes to the original plans, to ensure the best possible value for licence fee payers.

"The trust believes this service will offer public value and be culturally significant for both Gaelic speakers and Scotland as a whole."

What about those of us who don't have access to cable, satellite and broadband?
Eilidh, na Hearadh (Harris)

Neil Fraser, chairman of GMS, said approval was an important step and allowed work to continue on preparing the launch.

Ken MacQuarrie, the controller BBC Scotland, said he was delighted by the trust's decision.

He said: "BBC Scotland is looking forward to working with Gaelic Media Service to jointly deliver this innovative service."

Mr MacNeil envisaged the GDS supporting children who were learning Gaelic and added that he hoped independent producers in the Hebrides would earn commissions to provide programmes for it.

Distribution costs

Before being considered for Freeview, the service will be subject to a review ahead of the digital television switchover in central and northern Scotland in 2010.

This will look at the performance of the GDS in achieving public value and how it has achieved an aim of reaching a wider audience.

Meanwhile, the trust has concluded that the Gaelic Zone on BBC 2 will continue for the foreseeable future.

The GDS service will cost £20.8m-per-year in total, of which GMS will contribute £10.1m and the BBC £10.7m.

The BBC's total funding of £10.7m will consist of £7.2m already allocated to existing Gaelic services, £2.5m for new content and related spend and about £1m for distribution costs.

The cost of carrying the service on Freeview is estimated at about £4m a year.

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