Sky Sports on DTT as TopUp joins appeals

Ofcom has approved the use of DTT spectrum freed up by DSO for Sky Sports 1 and 2 paving the way for BT to offer the channels as part of BT Vision. Like Virgin, BT will a (more) aggressively priced package reflecting the regulated wholesale prices imposed on Sky in March.

Both Virgin and BT will offer the channels under a compromise deal made in April where the difference between the 'Sky price' and the 'regulated price' will be paid into an escrow account pending the outcome of the various appeals – Sky is appealing to have the regulation removed while both Virgin and BT are appealing for the pricing to be further reduced and regulation to be extended to Sky Sports 3&4.

Meanwhile, the pay DTT outfit TopUp TV has launched an appeal against Ofcom proposals to allow Sky to run its 'Picnic' pay-TV service on the UK DTT platform – this was the 'flip side' of Ofcom's price regulation of Sky and something Sky, at the time, dismissed as a worthless sop.

TopUp – which was one of the companies that lobbied Ofcom to regulate Sky's pricing – says allowing Picnic (Sky's pay DTT proposition) will damage its business; it says Ofcom's contention that any anti-competitive impacts were 'outweighed' by the wholesale price regulation were, in its case, false and the introduction of Picnic will simply allow Sky to distort competition on another platform.

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