BBC’s Gaelic broadcasting service gets the go-ahead

A Gaelic broadcasting service jointly run the BBC and the Gaelic Media Service has been given the green light.

The new mixed-genre service was approved by the BBC Trust this week and is set to launch in the summer on cable, satellite and broadband, but will not be available on Freeview.

BBC national trustee Jeremy Peat said: “The trust acknowledges the importance for many stakeholders of the issue of carriage of the service on Freeview. However, the trust feels it is too early to judge, in view of the extra cost involved and the needs of the audience, whether carriage on Freeview would be fully justified by the delivery of sufficient additional public value.”

Peat said there would be a review of the service by 2010 and before digital switchover in Scotland, at which point the trust will look again at adding the service to Freeview.

The service, which will include a dedicated digital TV channel in Gaelic, a radio station and Gaelic content on bbc.co.uk, will cost £20.8 million per year in total, of which £10.1 million will be provided by the GMS and £10.7 million from the BBC.

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