BT: Sky MUST help us compete... with Sky

In the latest submissions to the Ofcom pay-TV enquiry, BT has warned the regulator not to leave a loophole for Sky to escape regulation of its wholesale price to Canvas, or ‘other DSL based systems.’

The competing pay-TV provider says Sky might, if not regulated, provide its premium service over such a platform but dis-intermediate the platform with its own DRM and transaction service.

Never embarrassed to crank up its demands, BT argues that to become attractive as a competitor to Sky, Canvas must have Sky channels and at a regulated price: "In order that Canvas should develop as a compelling pay TV platform delivering these innovative services and effective competition to Sky’s satellite proposition, it is essential that BT (and other operators) gain wholesale access to Sky’s premium channels....This will spur the emergence of this new combined DTT and DSL platform.... BT’s own experience is that it is essential to offer must have premium content, such as sport, to attract pay TV subscribers."

Virgin and Top Up, who are not part of Canvas, argue that sport should be included in wholesale regulated pricing and say Ofcom’s proce calculations have been too generous to Sky and that regulation should come at the lower end of their forecast regulated prices.

Sky, meanwhile, fires back with a 277 page document condemning Ofcom’s ‘extreme and unprecedented intervention.’ In particular it points to the objections of many rights holders who would lose out from the lowering of wholesale prices.