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BBC Trust greenlights Project Canvas: Internet Freeview is go

The BBC Trust has given the green light to Project Canvas, a multi-company initiative to develop a Freeview box for the Internet

The BBC Trust has given the green light to Project Canvas. Canvas sees the BBC, Arqiva, BT, Channel 4, Five, ITV and Talk Talk teaming up to create a standard for Internet Protocol television, so you'll have something akin to a Freeview box attached to your broadband connection to pipe programmes on to your TV in new and interesting ways.

Conditions set by the Trust include industry engagement, ensuring that the technical specifications of the project are developed and future-proofed with the industry. The tech spec must include accessibility and usability features, such as audio description, and there must be no significant barriers to entry for content providers and Internet service providers.

As Canvas is partially funded by the licence fee, the Trust is ensuring that the results be free to air. There will be provision for extra services, such as video on demand, that can be paid for. The Trust has also capped BBC investment in the project at no more than 20 per cent above the existing estimates.

A new face at Canvas is Anthony Rose, formerly chief of BBC iPlayer -- a chap with much experience rolling out complex and innovative new platforms.

After the Office of Fair Trading ruled it wouldn't look at Canvas under merger and competition rules, today's announcement is one of the last hurdles before Canvas launches. If the partners can all continue to share their toys and not pull each others' hair, the set-top boxes are realistically about a year away. The BBC Trust has committed to producing boxes no later than eight months after the final technical specificiation has been hammered out. The Trust will then review Canvas after a year of public availability.

The final conclusions can be seen in PDF or text form here. Click here for our handy guide to Project Canvas.