Ofcom: Sky in breach of pay-TV contract rules
August 19, 2022
By Colin Mann
Following an investigation, UK broadcast regulator Ofcom has found that pay-TV operator Sky has breached – and continues to breach – its rules by failing to send end-of-contract notifications to pay-TV customers.
On February 15th 2020, Ofcom introduced new rules that require broadband, mobile, home phone and pay-TV companies to notify their customers when their minimum contract period is coming to an end. The rules state that these notifications must be sent to customers of all public ‘electronic communications services’ other than machine-to-machine transmission services.
Interpretation of the rules
Sky considers that its pay-TV services do not fall within the definition of an ‘electronic communications service’. Sky therefore maintains that it has no obligation to notify its pay-TV customers when their minimum contract period is coming to an end.
However, Ofcom considers that, as a provider of pay-TV services transmitted by a satellite network, Sky provides an electronic communications service and must therefore send end-of-contract notifications to its pay-TV customers.
Ofcom has directed Sky to take all necessary steps to comply with its regulatory obligations to send end-of-contract notifications to customers of its relevant pay-TV services, starting no later than nine months from the date of this decision. In addition, Sky must provide Ofcom with a progress report no later than four months from the date of this decision on the steps it will take to ensure the remedy is fully implemented within the nine months given.
Sky has two months from the date of this decision to appeal it. If it chooses to do so, Ofcom’s directions will be suspended pending the outcome of a first instance decision of the Competition Appeal Tribunal.