Since 2007, channels with an audience TV viewing share between 0.05% and 1% (‘relevant channels’) have been required to show 30 minutes of programmes each month presented in BSL.

But from 2016, broadcasters’ obligations will rise, reaching 75 minutes per month of sign-presented programmes or an equivalent contribution to alternative arrangements such as the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust.

As now, broadcasters will be able to choose whether to:

(a) show sign-presented programmes on their channels. From 1 January 2016, if broadcasters choose to do so, they will need to show more such programmes over time (sign-presented programmes are like those in the BSL Sign Zone or the BBC’s See Hear). The minimum time will rise from 30 minutes a month (from the first anniversary of the start of a channel) to 75 minutes a month (from the tenth anniversary of the start of a channel); or

(b) contribute to the cost of alternative arrangements, such as the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust. If broadcasters choose to do so, they will need to pay more over time. The minimum amount will rise from £24,500 in 2016 to about £61,400 (though this amount will be adjusted each year for inflation).

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