Way cleared for Sky Italia 3rd party access
By Julian Clover
Published: July 20, 2010 08.39 Europe/London

Italy’s anti-trust authority has closed an investigation into Sky Italia after accepting commitments from the satcaster that would ensure third party channels gained access to the platform. AGCOM had been investigating whether Sky Italia’s actions were an abuse of a dominant position.

The investigation was launched after a complaint from Conto TV, a third party channel carried on the Sky Italia platform. The broadcaster claimed the conditions imposed by Sky to broadcast on the platform were not transparent and failed to reflect their true cost. It said the cost of third party participation in the platform was greater than that enjoyed by the broadcaster and its subsiduaries.

AGCOM said Sky Italia had now committed to the principal of non-discrimination in access to the satellite platform, expanding the degree of transparency, and promising to levy the same fees to all comers.

The decision potentially opens up opportunities for more third party broadcasters to join the platform in the same way that has fostered the growth of independent channels in the UK market.

As is the case with Sky Subscriber Services Limited, Sky Italia will now use its website to publish the fees relating to conditional access services and EPG listings involved in pay-TV and pay-per-view services.

Separately, Sky Italia is expected to hear today whether it has been granted permission to commence digital terrestrial transmissions ahead of the previously agreed date of December 31, 2011. Sky has already made a series of commitments including the promise not to offer any pay-TV services in its first five years of operation.