The BBC and ITV are teaming-up to deliver a free-to-view satellite TV service, it emerged this morning.

The service, Freesat, will launch early next year and will carry all BBC and ITV digital TV, interactive and radio services, along with other channels.

BBC director general Mark Thompson told the BBC: "Our long-stated aim has been to bring about an open market in subscription-free satellite services so we can ensure free access to all the BBC's services across the country in the run-up to switchover and beyond."

The service will be of particular use to the one quarter of UK TV viewers who live in an area Freeview doesn't reach.