Al Jazeera launches British TV channel

New free channel could reach 80 per cent of British homes

Arab news network Al Jazeera will begin broadcasting its English news channel on Britain's Freeview free digital platform on Thursday, making the UK its biggest English-speaking market for free TV.

The network, which has branched out into several channels and the Web since its foundation as an independent Arabic news channel in 1996, will be able to reach 80 percent of Britain's 25 million households.

Al Jazeera English is already available on satellite platforms Freesat and Sky in Britain, and reaches about 200 million homes worldwide, mostly on pay-TV platforms.

Al Jazeera, which is based in Doha, aims to provide an alternative view of international news to those provided by other, Western global news providers like the BBC or Time Warner's CNN.

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