Arqiva has joined forces with Beers Enterprises Inc (BEI) to launch the London Switch, an SD/HD broadcast switching hub to be based at Newman Street in London.

The London Switch will compete with BT Tower by providing occasional services between London-based studios, broadcasters and facility houses. It is expected to begin operations in July.

The BT Tower, which takes studio feeds and sends them in the correct format to the relevant broadcasters, is currently the only major switch centre for facilities' lines in the UK.

Arqiva has spent two years developing the concept. Arqiva satellite solutions business development director Mark Cronin said: “The service that BT offers is excellent but we believe we can offer more flexibility.” He added: “We have developed this in response to demand from customers.”

The company has opted for Pro Bel technology for the switch which it argues will increase flexibility. It will allow all customers to view other subscribers to the Switch from a single monitor and opt to send feeds to the relevant recipients.

For a monthly port fee clients can make an unlimited number of switches in the London area with international connectivity charged per minute. Arqiva claimed that it will be cheaper than BT as it is able to use a diverse group of circuit providers - not just the BT Media and Broadcast lines.

BT was unavailable for comment.