Open Source Group Rejects Project Canvas - Joins Virgin in Fighting Against New UK Standard

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Project Canvas is back in the news - ever since the Open Source Consortium became the latest group to  to lodge a complaint against Ofcom - joining Virgin, BSkyB, Six TV and a number of other bodies in rejecting the new standard for the future of television. The United Kingdom’s Open Source Consortium which is an organization for companies that work in open standards has tracked in as the fifth group to disagree with regulator Ofcom, asking it to investigate the BBC-led Project Canvas.

In its communication with Ofcom, OSC said it believes the project will have:

“...adverse consequences for the device and software sector, diminishing consumer choice and causing inevitable consumer harm.”

Other parties opposed to Project Canvas include United for Local Television, Six TV, Virgin Media and IP Vision.

Virgin has argued that the partners developing the service - the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, TalkTalk, BT and Arqiva - have failed to uphold their promise to create a TV platform which would work with all other internet TV services, such as Virgin Media’s own on-demand offering and feel it's closed and it's proprietary walled garden is too high. 

“Collectively the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 account for around two-thirds of all television viewing in the UK while BT and TalkTalk control over half the national broadband market. Canvas will stifle future innovation as well as eliminate existing consumer choice for home entertainment.”

“They are establishing a single new TV platform of their own with a considerable incentive to favour this over other TV services. This could severely affect consumer options for watching public service programming in the future.”

According to the OSC, Project Canvas will limit technology choice for consumers, “setting arbitrary access conditions and enforcing mandated branding decisions”.

It also calls the BBC and its partners “discriminatory”, for creating an “unfair and unjustified barrier” to the consumer’s choice of software for content consumption.

“Project Canvas in its current form is going to lead to the BBC having unprecedented influence in the market for computer hardware and software. And not enough people seem to be worrying about the scale or impact of that,” said Gerry Gavigan, Chair of the OSC. “Project Canvas exceeds the BBC’s public service remit and should be prevented from further distorting the market for devices and software.”


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