Pay TV: give us access to Sky or break it up

BSkyB's rivals have made a joint submission to Ofcom saying it should give them “economically viable” access to its premium programming or face the separation of its channels and satellite distribution business. The submission is from BT Vision, Setanta Sports, Top Up TV and Virgin Media.

BSkyB's submission to the communications regulator's investigation into the pay-TV market dismissed its rivals' arguments as “misconceived, exaggerated and cynically self-serving”.

Their complaint ignored competition from free-to-air broadcasters, the fast-changing competitive environment and previous regulatory interventions such as the European Commission's break-up of its former monopoly over Premiership rights, BSkyB said. “The complaint contains a number of serious factual inaccuracies and the arguments within it are flawed,” BSkyB said.

Neil Berkett, acting chief executive of Virgin Media, said: “In the broadband and phone markets in recent years we've seen falling prices, more innovation and increased choice. In pay-TV, by contrast, consumers are still getting a raw deal.”

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