Sky calls for cable investigation

BSkyB has responded to media regulator Ofcom’s investigation into the pay TV market saying its rivals have a “commercial interest” in preventing Sky from increasing customer choice. It has also called for Ofcom to investigate the closed cable network.

A Sky spokesman says it would expect Ofcom to look at the “physical and legal barriers and business practices that shield Virgin Media from true competition and prevent consumers from enjoying lower prices in broadband and telephony and greater innovation and choice in television”.

The satellite operator’s comments come as Ofcom launches an investigation into the pay TV market following submissions from BT, Setanta, Top Up TV and Virgin Media.

The investigation comes after a number of issues around pay TV. Earlier this year, Sky announced plans to replace the free channels on Freeview with a subsciption service and the row between Sky and Virgin Media, which has led to Sky taking some of its channels off the Virgin pay TV service.

Sky’s rivals are urging the media regulator to investigate the pay TV industry and consider whether to refer the pay TV market to the Competition Commission under the Enterprise Act 2002.

Pay TV includes subscription and video-on-demand television services on all platforms: cable, digital terrestrial television (DTT), satellite and TV over DSL.

Consumer groups including the Ofcom Consumer Panel and the National Consumer Council have also expressed concerns to Ofcom about the loss of Sky channels from Virgin Media’s pay TV platform.

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