A few Soho bosses have voiced concerns that participants in the BBC's down-the-pipe technology tryout would enjoy a commercial advantage. One facility owner said: "If we lose business to a company participating in the trials it would be devastating. There's a lack of understanding of the repercussions of this project."
But BBC head of technology production Paul Cheesbrough said the project is being closely monitored to make sure that does not happen. "The feedback we had last year was that we had to work out the business and cost models. This project is going to address that. Participants are not going to get an unfair advantage."
Technology surveys are being finished and will determine whether extra fibre pipes will have to be installed along with the BBC's Despatch Client PC software. "We'll fund a temporary infrastructure to pilot the concept, but the BBC will be owning that infrastructure not donating it," Cheesbrough added.
Another post house chief also raised concerns about three board members of the trade body UK Post taking up half the places. But UK Post chief executive Gaynor Davenport said: "The decision pre-dated Anita's [Nandwani of Pink House Post] appointment to the board. It's healthy that we have a balanced perspective."