Ofcom will focus on pay-TV competition

Ofcom has released details of its 2009-10 annual plan, with emphasis on delivering spectrum through the digital dividend and promoting competition in pay-TV. Ofcom expects to make a decision on proposals to force Sky to offer some of its premium channels wholesale in spring 2009. The current consultation as a result of Ofcom's pay-TV review, and covering the wholesale proposals and Sky's plans for the Picnic DTT service, will close next week. The decision timetable is apparently designed to give the market clarity before the 2009/10 football season.

On spectrum management the regulator says: "Spectrum is a key resource for the UK economy and society, and we think that in general a market-based approach to spectrum management is the most suitable way to achieve the best use of this resource." To date Ofcom has held five spectrum auctions and is giving priority to the liberalization of spectrum between 900 and 1800 MHz already used by mobile services. It is also looking at a March auction in the 2.6GHz band, suitable for WiMax operations, but is being held back by litigation from existing mobile operators.

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