Scotland Independence: Media and Telecoms

29 November 2013

Scotland’s SNP-led Government has published its White Paper setting out its assumptions for independence, including on broadcasting and telecommunications, where spectrum management will be assumed by the new Government, implying a discontinuity in existing UK-wide 3G and 4G licenses attributed by Ofcom.


The SNP promises no change in the broadcasting environment except for the creation of a Scottish Broadcasting Service (SBS), which would occupy the BBC’s position today. Channel 3, 4 and 5 licensees will be able to continue to broadcast without discontinuity, although free access to spectrum was not promised, which BSkyB of course doesn’t require.


The big ask is BBC One and BBC Two on free-to-air terms, implying a subsidy of £270 million to Scotland. This seems very unlikely to be agreed by the rest of the UK (rUK), since BBC Worldwide offers only commercial terms to other countries. However, the BBC will not comment on this assumption, so the Scots will only learn of the facts after the referendum.

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