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Project Canvas gets green light from Ofcom

The organisation formerly known as Project Canvas has been given the go-ahead by UK telecommunications watchdog Ofcom.

The consortium of companies which includes the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, Talk Talk and Arqiva wants to provide a multi-channel catch up service called YouView which would beam telly programmes new and old over the Internet via a set-top box.

Obviously irked at not being invited to the party, Sky, Virgin Media and IPVision tried to rain on YouVeiw's parade by carping to Ofcom about breaches of the 1998 Competition Act. The complainants tried very hard to pretend they were doing this in the interest of the consumer, but Ofcom, it seems, was having none of that.

In a statement released today, Ofcom says that, as things stand, there will be no investigation into Project Canvas but it reserves the right to instigate an investigation at a later date.

The problem is the IPTV is an emerging technology, and it's almost impossible to judge how much of an impact the new service will have on existing broadcasting methods until it is up and running.

Ofcom also ruled that the new service was likely to bring benefit to consumers and that the only people likely to loose out were the billionaires behind the companies doing all the complaining.

Ofcom’s Chief Executive, Ed Richards, said: “Ofcom’s view is that consumers’ interests will not be served by opening an investigation. It would be premature at the current stage of YouView’s development given the absence of a clear risk of consumer harm.

“But if evidence does emerge in the future that YouView causes harm to the interests of viewers and consumers we may reconsider whether to investigate.”