BT considers Sky ruling challenge
UK telco BT is likely to appeal against a court ruling that cleared BSkyB to charge higher wholesale costs for access to its premium sports content. Speaking at the Morgan Stanley technology, media and telecoms conference in Barcelona, Ian Livingston, chief executive, said he was “minded to appeal” the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) decision in August.
The CAT ruled in favour of BSkyB’s appeal against Ofcom’s decision to modify Sky’s licences in respect of supplying its core premium sports channels (CPSCs) to other platforms such as BT and Virgin Media. The new licence conditions required Sky to offer to wholesale its CPSCs to retailers on other broadcasting platforms and, in the case of the standard definition versions of the channels, offer them at wholesale prices set by Ofcom.
While the Tribunal agreed with elements of Ofcom’s analysis, it concluded that Ofcom’s decisions that Sky’s conduct was such as to prejudice fair and effective competition in the retail supply of the CPSCs was wrong.
Should BT appeal, it would continue a five-year battle between regulators and Sky over the price it sells its sports programming to rivals. The deadline for any appeal is November 26. “We do not need to make a final decision until the deadline for it but we are minded to appeal, yes,” Livingston said.