News Burst: New BBC funding wins EC approval

Commercial providers of digital television programming are concerned that the BBC will continue to launch new channels funded through license-fee revenues, following European Commission approval of public funding for BBC News 24.

News 24 is the BBC's 24-hour cable news channel.

BskyB had made a complaint to the EC that financing the new channel through the license fee constituted illegal state aid. The Commission found that although the funds were to be considered state aid, the BBC was entitled to such aid for "delivery of services of general economic interest".

"The big question is what is the role of the BBC in the digital age," said a Sky spokesman, "and can it be allowed to come into the market and distort competition?"