Press release

BBC is a national champion for digital technology, says IET

05 October 2015

In its response to the Department for Culture, Media & Sport’s consultation on the future of the BBC, which closes on 8 October, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) highlights the BBC’s important role as a national champion for digital technology. The IET argues that the BBC’s work in this area has already enabled the UK to become a global leader in broadcast innovation – and could help the nation to build on this position in the future.

Professor Will Stewart, Chair of the IET Communications Policy Panel, says: “Without the BBC it’s unlikely that people would be enjoying the vast range of digital technologies, including on demand and catch up, that they do today. Millions of people now watch digital television and regularly tune into BBC iPlayer, and its counterpart services from the other channels. The technology behind these services was pioneered by the BBC.

“With the political microscope so firmly focused on the BBC, it’s important that we consider not only their role as a public broadcaster, but also their value to the UK economy as an early adopter of digital innovation. The UK’s current position as a global broadcast technology leader is, to a large degree, due to the BBC.

“Where the BBC could improve is in the governance of its technology innovation. For example, recognising the crucial role technological innovation must play in its future, it should consider strengthening its Technology Advisory Board, which should report into the BBC Board rather than the BBC Trust.”

Media enquiries to:

Hannah Kellett
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7738 602426
Email: HKellett@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

  • Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespeople from a broad range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and women in engineering.
  • The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with over 163, 000 members in 127 countries. It is also the most interdisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.
  • The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.
  • For more information, visit www.theiet.org
  • Follow the IET on Twitter.