BBC Trust website creaks under pressure as thousands make BBC3 submissions in first 24 hours
Some users wishing to have their say on the future of the 11-year-old channel have been met with blank pages and error messages as large numbers attempt to take part in the consultation process
The BBC Trust’s website experienced faults yesterday and today due to the large number of people wanting to have their say about the proposed closure of BBC3 as a broadcast channel.
Within 24 hours of going live, thousands have already filled in the online form that encourages viewers to comment on BBC proposals to slash BBC3's budget and move the channel online from autumn 2015 - with the weight of traffic on the BBC Trust website causing some users to be met with blank screens and error messages.
At the time of writing, RadioTimes.com was unable to access the page, and was instead met with the message: "Down for Maintenance: This website is currently unavailable whilst maintenance is carried out. Normal service will resume shortly."
The Trust told RadioTimes.com that it was increasing capacity today to address the problems.
A spokeswoman said: “We received a good response rate on the opening day of the consultation and this appears to have caused availability issues for a small number of users. We are looking to strengthen our capacity later today to address this."
The problems were seized upon by the #SaveBBC3 campaign which has more than 265,000 signatures of support.
Leading campaigner Jono Read said: "If between the BBC Trust and the BBC they cannot keep a consultation online what hope is there for moving a popular television channel online?
“While the demand has so far surpassed my expectations on the first day of the consultation I fear some visitors will be put off responding because of these website issues.
"This does, however, show just how important BBC3 is seen with young people as well as the creative industry who see the channel as the place that dares to be different."
The campaign has been boosted by support from BBC3 alumni such as Matt Lucas and James Corden as the Trust launched a Public Value Test inviting submissions from viewers and other interested parties over the closure.
The process is expected to take at least six months with the Trust promising that the BBC's executives plans to move the channel is far from a done deal.
Yesterday the Trust's senior strategy advisor Bronwen Roscoe called on Radio Times readers to contact the regulatory body and have their say over plans by the BBC executive to close BBC3 as a broadcast channel and shift the savings into other areas of the Corporation, with an extra £30m going to television drama.
The online BBC3 would follow the maxims “make me laugh” and “Make me think” by focusing on comedy and serious factual programmes when it ceases to be a conventional broadcast channel.