BBC braced to oppose Digital Britain proposals

COMMUNICATIONS minister Lord Carter is expected to unveil his Digital Britain report tomorrow, ending months of speculation over his proposals for the BBC&rsquo;s licence fee.<br /><br />The report will outline the government&rsquo;s thinking on a range of subjects from high-speed broadband access to dealing with illegal file sharing and advertising downturns.<br /><br />But the most highly-anticipated proposal is Carter&rsquo;s plan to &ldquo;top-slice&rdquo; &pound;130m from the BBC&rsquo;s budget to pay for the production of regional news for ITV, which says it can no longer afford to make and broadcast it.<br /><br />The minister will suggest that the funds are re-allocated from the BBC&rsquo;s &ldquo;digital surplus&rdquo; &ndash; licence payers&rsquo; money which was ring-fenced for the switch over to digital TV. <br /><br />BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons has fiercely opposed the suggestion, saying recently that licence payers gave the money in good faith that it would be used for BBC purposes.<br /><br />The BBC will also oppose the idea of the introduction of licence fee reviews by ministers, which could lead to more political interference. <br /><br />The report is likely to support a partnership between struggling Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide.