The BBC Trust could ask the BBC to scale back its online services, with chairman Sir Michael Lyons confirming that questions need to be asked about what the state-funded corporation is doing on the internet.

Although Lyons insists that the BBC's news services will not be diluted, there are question marks over some of the corporations other online services.

"We have no intention of diluting BBC commitment to universal access to free news online," said Lyons.

"But beyond that we want to question honestly what licence fee payers really expect to get from their licence fee and what they might be surprised to see the BBC doing in the online world."

Complaints

There have been many complaints made about the BBC and its ability to potentially dominate markets online because of its licence fee funding and resources.

"…there is a question about streamlining the BBC's online services – in ways that could both narrow the focus on distinctive content and help to create a more open BBC, added the statement.

"The Trust recognises external concerns over scale and growth of BBC online operations. Equally, it's an immensely popular service with audiences and an important tool for the UK economy."

The BBC Trust put forward key questions for BBC online -

• Beyond the core offer of news, sport, education, children's and the iPlayer, which parts of the online service are essential to the BBC's mission and which could be stopped?

• In particular, where should the boundary be drawn between the online expression or extension of BBC programming and the creation of new online content with a less direct relationship to BBC programming?

• Could clearer boundaries help the online service to provide even greater depth and authority in core areas?

They are important questions, and it seems likely that the BBC will once more have to defend some of its more ambitious plans but still be seen as an innovator for Britain; no mean feat.