§ Mr. Austin Mitchell
To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what assessment she has made of the BBC's development of digital terrestrial radio and television. 
§ Mr. Sproat
The BBC is playing a crucial role in the development of digital terrestrial radio and television. It began to broadcast its five national radio services in digital form on 27 September 1995. It is working with the Independent Television Commission on detailed frequency planning for the launch of digital terrestrial television, and is an active member of the Digital Television Group, an industry body seeking to co-ordinate the technical and commercial development of digital terrestrial television.
We have offered the BBC exclusive use of the digital television multiplex which will provide the greatest geographical coverage in the UK. This gives the BBC the opportunity to be at the forefront of digital technology, and to maintain and develop its public service remit into the 21st century. It enables them to make firm plans for that multiplex, and I understand that these may include widescreen versions of BBC1 and BBC2, complemented by new services, perhaps encompassing additional news, sport and parliamentary coverage and an enhanced Ceefax service.