NGT commits to Freeview stake

NGT logo

Power group National Grid Transco (NGT) has revealed some of the thinking behind its acquisition last month of Crown Castle UK, the television transmission group that is also a partner in Freeview, the UK's digital terrestrial platform.

NGT paid £1.1bn in cash for the network, operated by the UK arm of US transmission giant Crown Castle.

Interviewed in FT Creative Business, Edward Astle, NGT's distribution strategy chief, said NGT would merge Crown Castle UK - it will retain the name, for now - with its mobile telephony arm GridCom. "Nobody is saying this is a transformational move for NGT, but it will make a useful contribution to group earnings," said Astle.

"It will be an interesting opportunity to work in partnership with the BBC and other content providers to provide national [digital terrestrial] coverage. It's an attractive marketplace, one which offers growth, attractive returns and one which is linked to the skills we use in our traditional businesses."

Astle said Crown Castle UK's stake in Freeview would be maintained. But he made clear NGT did not have broader ambitions in the broadcasting world: "It is not for us to dabble in the service offerings of mobile operators, in the issues around BBC charter review or about the strategies Ofcom will follow. The game for NGT is the bog standard business of erecting towers, sending out men in vans, painting masts and bolting on transmitters."

Lovelacemedia  |  27.07.2004

Previous story  |  Next story