BT v Sky Sports pricing back to court

gerrard_footballBT has won the right to take a Competition Commission ruling that stopped BSkyB being forced to offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 to rival TV services at a discount to the court of appeal.

Last year the Competition Appeals Tribunal concluded that Ofcom had been wrong  to force BSkyB to cut the amount it charges rivals to air Sky Sports channels by up to 23 per cent.

BT challenged the Tribunal decision at the court of appeal and has now been given the right to lodge an appeal. The court granted BT the right on the grounds that the Tribunal failed to investigate the level of discounts that BSkyB claimed it gave rivals on the ratecard price to air its sports channels.

Ofcom had originally proposed to introduce a new pricing structure, which would have made Sky Sports 1 and 2 up to 23 per cent cheaper than the previous wholesale price in March 2010, after determining that BSkyB was abusing its power in the market.

Rivals including BT, Virgin Media, Top Up TV, the now-defunct Setanta had all complained to Ofcom about Sky’s pricing structure.

Ofcom said that it was “very surprised and disappointed” when the CAT ruled against it but chose not take the issue to the court of appeal as BT has done.

BT said: “We are pleased that the court of appeal has granted BT permission to appeal the CAT’s pay-TV judgment and we look forward to explaining in the forthcoming trial why BT believes that the CAT’s judgment on this matter was incorrect.”

BSkyB said: “We note today’s decision of the court of appeal to grant BT permission to appeal the Tribunal’s judgment on the wholesale supply of Sky Sports 1 and 2. The court of appeal will hear the arguments of Sky and BT in due course.”

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