Sky: Ofcom pursuing an ‘extreme agenda’

UK pay-TV operator BSkyB has issued a strongly-worded response to communications regulator Ofcom’s investigation into the UK pay-TV market. In its submission, News Corp-backed Sky said Ofcom has an ‘extreme agenda’.

The regulator has proposed measures that would force Sky to sell its channels to other pay-TV operators at regulated rates, likely to be well below what it currently seeks to charge third parties.

Sky said: “Sky’s channels are to be treated as regulated assets, the development and use of which is to be controlled by Ofcom in order to further Ofcom’s policy objectives, to the benefit of Sky’s current and future competitors and, in Sky’s view, to the detriment of Sky, the competitive process and consumers.” It added that the measures on the table are ‘extreme’ and ‘unprecedented’ given that Sky is not in breach of UK competition law and the returns it generates by wholesaling channels are ‘perfectly normal’.

Sky’s submission comes as two of Sky’s competitors, MSO Virgin Media and telco and IPTV operator BT, issued their own joint submission to Ofcom. They asked the regulator to ensure there are no loopholes in the proposed rules that would allow Sky to avoid complying with the spirit  with which they were intended.