Ofcom To Look Into BSkyB’s DTT Plans
[10-05-07 – Satellite Today] Ofcom, the U.K. communications regulator, said Oct. 4 that it wanted to look closer into BSkyB’s plans to offer pay-TV services via the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) platform. BSkyB has more than eight million DTH subscribers in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Ofcom has published a public consultation on BSkyB’s plans and the closing date for responses is Dec. 14.
BSkyB unveiled its plans to offer pay-TV services via DTT earlier this week, and said it would use a new brand dubbed ‘Picnic’. Customers would have to buy new set-top boxes, but for a monthly charge yet to be revealed, would gain access to Sky’s sports and movie content, all be it on a limited scale.
Ofcom seems to have concerns about BSkyB becoming a strong player in DTT. It said in a statement, “If as a result of Sky’s position in the wholesale provision of sports and movies channels, Sky were to emerge as the main retailer of pay TV services not only on the satellite platform but also on DTT, other providers of pay TV services may find it more difficult to enter the market. This may not be in the long term interest of consumers. It is essential that Ofcom considers how it can best ensure fair and effective competition for the benefit of consumers in the light of the development of the DTT platform, Sky’s strong market position in pay TV and the specific aspects of the proposal.”