Following successful trials, and last month's first live streamed news report through a mobile handset, BBC News will make 3G mobile phone technology standard issue within a year and a half.
BBC News reporter Russel Hayes (pictured) conducted a live 'one-to-one' on Breakfast News on 28 September this year breaking a story about job losses at ferry operator P&O. Hayes and producer Caroline Williams used their trial handset to send live video and audio via an Israeli router gateway to the BBC newsroom. No vision path was available using conventional methods until 9am.
News director and project manager, BBC direction technology Justen Dyche, who is in charge of the project said: 'Sending times are getting shorter, compression is getting better and bandwidth and handset technology are increasing all the time. It's getting a lot easier to justify issuing these technologies. Within 18 months they will be standard issue.'
Hayes said he believed that the mobile phone will become an invaluable tool to modern TV news, allowing journalists 'to go to events, which may not merit the sending of an OB truck, but which may produce a story'.
Currently around 130 BBC News staff have 2.5G mobile handsets, which are capable of sending pictures and video footage to BBC newsrooms, although until the adoption of the 3G phones, live streaming is not possible. Images from the 2.5G handsets have been used in reports including the Driffield coach crash and the drowned cockle pickers in Morecambe.
Sources were keen to point out that the adoption of 3G technologies would not replace conventional camera crews but will allow reporters to get something back quickly to sustain news programming until the crew arrive.
The BBC technology direction group has also been in discussions with editorial departments over the possibility of public contributions.
Dyche said: 'Everything's in place to receive pictures from the public. There's no reason why we couldn't in theory.'