Mark Thompson, the BBC director-general says that this will be the decade of on-demand television.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, he said that he saw “no reason why BBC broadband reach shouldn’t approach the historic levels achieved by the BBC’s television and radio services.”

He said that on-demand services were by far the most important feature of digital delivery and that “it will change what we mean by the word ‘broadcasting'”.

A digital Britain will be achieved, he said, not just by switching analogue terrestrial television to digital “but when every household has access to rich and interactive on-demand services”.

The BBC is about to pilot a broadband peer-to-peer service, originally known as iMP, which now has the working title MyBBCPlayer. This will provide access to a selection of radio and television programmes from the previous seven days, international, national and local news items, and archive material.