Ofcom rejects BT's demand for full-scale pay-TV investigation

DetailsEditor | 17 July 2015

Despite a voracious campaign set up by the new pay-TV operator, UK regulator Ofcom has rejected calls from BT to investigate alleged dominance of arch rival Sky.

The news arrived as the broadcast and telecoms watchdog announced a review into how UK consumers of services under its remit can switch providers. As part of this review Ofcom said that it would look at the pay-TV industry, but only with regard to bundling and the ease with which TV customers can switch providers.

This comes as a blow to BT. Talking to The Guardian newspaper about the decision, a BT spokesperson said: "Ofcom have overseen a regime that has balanced investment with competition and we hope they will once again put the needs of the UK and its consumers ahead of those who have tried to keep the UK in the digital dark ages. The one area where consumers are getting a raw deal is pay-TV. Ofcom have said they will consider whether to make it easier for customers to switch in this area but this isn't enough. Much tougher action is needed to address the fundamental flaws in this market."

Seven days ago, in a speech to the UK Broadcasting Press Guild, BT Consumer Division CEO John Petter urged Ofcom to formally amend the scope of its Digital Communications Review to include pay-TV, citing high prices and poor outcomes for consumers arising from a lack of competition. Specifically it called out its arch-rival for overcharging customers, drawing comparisons with the price of broadband with that of pay-TV service, slamming what it called 'real market failings' in pay-TV where Sky was the dominant player.