Having provisionally approved the BBC's involvement in the Project Canvas IPTV standard at the end of last year, the BBC Trust has now rubber stamped its decision following a lengthy public consultation.
But the Trust has attached a number of conditions to the Beeb's involvement, covering industry engagement, cost and accessibility as summarised below. The full conclusions can be seen here.
Industry engagement: Completed elements of the Canvas core technical specification to be published within 20 working days from this final approval, and the Canvas partners to engage with industry on these and future elements of the technical specification. The final core technical specification will be published no later than eight months before launch of the first set-top boxes. The Trust will keep this process of engagement under review.
Free-to-air: Users will always be able to access Canvas free-to-air, though they may be charged for additional pay services that third parties might choose to provide via the Canvas platform, for example video on demand services, as well as the broadband subscription fees.
Accessibility and usability: Accessibility and usability features, such as audio description, should be incorporated into the core technical specification and/or user interface as soon as reasonably possible; and appropriate information and signposting should be provided for users to help them make informed choices about the suitability of content wherever possible.
Access to the platform for content providers and ISPs: Entry controls in terms of technical and content standards will be minimal, access will not be bundled with other products or services, listing on the electronic programme guide will be awarded in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner; and quality standards for ISPs delivering Canvas will be set at a minimum level and applied in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner.
Legal compliance: Canvas will comply with all applicable laws including competition and state aid law.
Cost: The BBC's involvement will not exceed the Executive's estimated costs by more than 20 per cent over a five year period.
It's not clear yet to what extent these conditions address the concerns of Sky and Virgin Media, with the latter recently objecting to having the Canvas interface imposed on it.