TV channels including ITV2, Dave and E4 will be free to access for next decade

Free-to-air content on the Freeview platform will continue to be supported until at least 2034, ministers have said

TV fans will continue to have free access to channels including ITV2, Dave and EV for another decade as Freeview licences have been renewed.

Ministers have said the Freeview platform will be supported until at least 2034, allowing public service and commercial broadcasters to deliver free-to-air content across the UK.

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As such, free access for viewers to digital TV channels is protected into the next decade.

What channels are included in the renewal?

The government has given Ofcom the power to renew the five national multiplex licences for the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) platform.

TV multiplexes are digital networks which allow several TV channels to be compressed and transmitted at the same time over a single radio frequency.

ITV2, which is the home of popular reality series Love Island, is among the channels that will continue to have free access following the renewal.

Telly fans will also have access to E4 and Dave, which airs hit programmes such as Big Zuu’s Big Eats, Unforgivable and re-runs of Top Gear and Taskmaster.

The government has also said it will legislate to make ownership of one of the multiplexes, Multiplex 2, contingent on being for public service broadcasting.

Multiplex 2 is currently jointly owned by Channel 4 and ITV and carries channels including ITV 2, Film 4, E4 and More4.

Also included in the renewal are Multiplexes C and D, which include Sky News, Al Jazeera and new channel GB News.

The move aims to ensure that public service broadcasters, such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, always have a space on the Freeview platform.

Media minister John Whittingdale said: “Today we are guaranteeing the future of Freeview TV and a diverse range of much-loved news, entertainment and documentary channels well into the 2030s.

“Securing the future of Freeview means people can continue to enjoy its great content while we also protect a vital medium for our public service broadcasters so they can serve audiences in the years to come.”

Plans to privatise Channel 4

The move to protect free to access channels into the next decade comes as the government is consulting on plans to privatise Channel 4.

The channel, which was founded in 1982 to deliver to under-served audiences, is owned by the government and receives its funding from advertising.

It is expected that large American companies are likely to be among the potential investors.

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