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Former ITV chair argues that DTT is vital for “national resilience”

UK TV industry grandee Peter Bazalgette has warned that the role of content delivery via digital terrestrial television (DTT) should not be neglected, as the UK and other leading media markets hurtle towards an internet-only future.

Peter Bazalgette

In a letter to the Financial Times, the former ITV chair said that DTT could play a crucial role at times of national crisis, because the internet may not prove to be a robust platform for communicating urgent messages to audiences. He said protecting DTT (and FM) is “matter of national resilience and it would be a foolish government or regulator which ignored this”. Referencing the current protracted conflict in Ukraine, he said: “We’ve already seen an undersea gas pipeline blown up. International infrastructure has become a credible target. What if the internet were compromised by the destruction of the satellites and the cables it depends upon?”

Bazalgette’s intervention comes at a time when some stakeholders within the UK media industry are suggesting DTT could be switched off in the 2030s to free up the spectrum for other uses (probably 2034 at the earliest). He added: “The director-general of the BBC, Tim Davie, is rightly preparing the corporation for the internet age. But he should also be arguing for the maintenance of DTT. Neatly this combines technological resilience with the enduring value of the BBC’s trusted news services.”

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