Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
bbc.co.uk is the URL and brand name for the BBC's online services. It was introduced on May 6 2004. Under its previous names, the BBC's online service first went live in 1994. As of 2004, the current controller is Tony Ageh.
Formerly BBCi (still the brand for interactive TV services) and before that BBC Online, the Web-based service of the BBC is one of the world's largest and most visited web sites (24th most visited according to Alexa in March 2005 ). It currently contains over two million pages.
The service's original home was www.bbcnc.org.uk (the "nc" standing for "networking club"") launched on April 13, 1994. www.bbc.co.uk was launched in 1996 though the old address also remained active for some time afterwards. For a time, www.bbc.co.uk was used for the organisation's corporate and educational site, while entertainment-based content appeared on www.beeb.com. The two sites were merged c.1999 to become BBC Online at www.bbc.co.uk. As of 2005, www.bbcnc.org.uk no longer exists, while www.beeb.com redirects to www.bbcshop.co.uk.
The websites include news from BBC News Online, an extensive sports section, music, science, technology and entertainment pages, among other things. It also possible to see and hear many of the BBC's television and radio stations there.
As might be expected, the website has a decidedly British orientation, although the news and sport sections each give the reader a choice between UK and international versions.
The BBC's site is entirely free from advertising, in line with the rest of the BBC's UK services. This is due to the BBC's funding, derived primarily from compulsory television license fees from UK tax payers. This has meant bbc.co.uk has sometimes caused some controversy, as web users outside the UK can use the services (including the entire BBC radio services) without having to pay for them. It has been suggested in the past that the BBC block users outside the UK, or that the BBC create a version of their site supported by adverts for such users. So far, such moves have been resisted; however, where rights to sporting events (such as certain football matches) do not include international online coverage, users from outside the UK are blocked from listening to commentaries.
Unusually for a high traffic website, bbc.co.uk has extensive technical information available about its operation.
In early 2004 the site was made the focus of a government review, launched by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, led by Philip Graf. Sections of the UK internet industry had argued that the BBC site offered things that were available in the commercial sector, creating unnecessary competition.
The review was published in July 2004 and it was recommended that the BBC "prioritise news, current affairs, education and information which is of value to the citizen." In response the BBC also shut down a small number of sections of the site, including the popular Soaps section.
In November 2004 the Governors of the BBC announced a newer, much more tightly drawn remit for bbc.co.uk as part of their response to the review. They also announced, as Graf had recommended, a new approach towards external providers which will see bbc.co.uk aiming to spend at least 25% of its eligible budget on content and services through independent commissions by the end of 2006/07.
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