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BBC Net giveaways anti-competitive, say critics

ITV and others say the Beeb's practice of giving away news is unfair and anti-competitive
Written by Wendy McAuliffe, Contributor

Critics of the BBC say not charging for its online news services to mobile phone operators and Internet portals is unfair and anti-competitive.

The criticism has prompted the office of fair trading (OFT) to launch an inquiry into the alleged abuse of the BBC's non-commercial status. ITN, one of the BBC's fiercest critics, is also preparing a report for the OFT, which could result in the BBC governors being brought to court.

The content generated for bbc.co.uk and its news channel BBC News 24 is funded by the licence fee, but is then being offered to companies such as Cellnet and Yahoo! for free.

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