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BT and Virgin Media criticise Sky’s “near monopoly”

UK cable operator Virgin Media and IPTV operator BT have attacked pay-TV operator BSkyB for being a “near monopoly” that keeps prices high whilst restricting consumer choice, according to business newspaper City AM.

The comments form part of a joint submission to communications regulator Ofcom’s consultation over the wholesaling of pay-TV channels. The two parties claim that the current situation, in which Sky sets the prices for the wholesaling of its channels, makes it impossible for other pay-TV operators to compete effectively with Sky. They said that they support pricing rules that would lead to lower retail prices for pay-TV channels, more choice and greater innovation.

According to the Independent newspaper, a spokesperson for Sky retaliated to the submission by saying it was no surprise that its rivals wanted lower prices, adding that without strong evidence of excessive profits or current prices being too high, Ofcom was unlikely to intervene.

However, Ofcom has already made proposals that would force Sky to sell its premium content, including Premier League football and movies, to rivals at prices set by the regulator.