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(Pocket-lint) - The BBC has suspended plans to wind down its Red Button text services.

Its shutdown was due to start this Thursday (30 January) and continue throughout the coming weeks, but BBC director Tony Hall has called a halt to the closure while he examines calls for its to stay. A "fresh decision" will be announced in the spring.


The Beeb's original plans were first announced in September last year, with the broadcaster revealing that running the Red Button text services costs the corporation more than £39 million per year.

Plus, with smartphone and tablet use covering 80 per cent of the UK population, the news, sports and weather information platform was deemed too costly to run as the corporation goes through a budget restructure process.

However, a petition signed by more than 100 organisations was delivered into 10 Downing Street yesterday calling for a stay of execution, and it seems to have been respected.

The petition was organised by the National Federation of the Blind of the UK and claims that the services provide an invaluable connection to the outside world for the elderly with sight and hearing difficulties who do not have internet connections.

By suspending a final decision until the spring, UK Freeview TV sets will continue to carry internet-free text services - keeping alive a tradition started by the launch of Ceefax 45 years ago.

Regardless of whether we do still see some of its text features closed after spring, the BBC previously confirmed that other Red Button services, such as the live video streams available during events such as Glastonbury, will continue to be available.

Writing by Rik Henderson.