BSkyB rips in to Canvas

BSkyB has heavily criticised the BBC Trust’s decision not to conduct a full market impact review of Project Canvas, the broadband TV joint venture with ITV and BT, and says the Trust needs to demonstrate it is genuinely independent of the service it is meant to regulate. Sky also believes the project, which aims to “bring catch-up from the PC to the TV” via Freeview and Freesat is “likely to qualify” for an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading as a “relevant merger situation”.

BSkyB attacked the BBC Trust’s decision not to submit Project Canvas to a full public value test, which would entail Ofcom conducting a market impact assessment of its affect on commercial rivals. It has also called on the BBC Trust to assess the likely risk of the project falling foul of European Union state aid rules before deciding whether to go ahead.

“The trust should subject the proposals to the highest level of scrutiny, in as transparent a way as possible, including submitting the proposals to a full public value test or equivalently robust procedure, with a market impact assessment conducted by Ofcom,” said BSkyB in its submission to the BBC Trust’s consultation on Project Canvas. “As a relatively new body, facing scepticism in some quarters as to its independence from the body it regulates, it is especially important for the Trust to demonstrate its ability to regulate the BBC’s proposed activities … in a rigorous and impartial manner.”

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