BT pulls the plug on terrestrial access to BT Sport for new customers
In a statement on the BT Sport website, BT states: "From 25th January 2014 BT Sport will only be available on BT TV for customers who have or take BT Infinity."
Until now, customers who lived outside of areas covered by BT's fibre-optic broadband service could get access to standard definition BT Sport via a Vision+ box connected to a TV aerial, receiving BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 2 alongside the Freeview TV service, where it was available on channels 58 and 59.
In contrast, customers with BT Infinity are able to receive BT Sport 1, 2 and ESPN in either standard or high definition via BT TV channels 507 - 512.
Seenit reports that existing customers who receive BT Sport via an aerial will not be affected, but new customers will need to take BT Infinity before they can sign up for BT Sport via BT TV.
It's exactly a year since BT stopped offering Sky Sports 1 and 2 to viewers without Infinity. That change came just over five months before the channels were removed from terrestrial TV altogether.
This latest announcement heightens speculation that BT's will now do the same to its own sports channels amidst speculation that its current carriage deal with digital terrestrial TV multiplex operator Arqiva is coming to an end.
The carriage deal, which started in July 2010, allowed BT to initially offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 via terrestrial TV, before replacing them with BT Sport 1 and 2 in July 2013 ahead of their 1st August launch date.
BT Sport will continue to be available via Sky as an add-on service administered by BT for viewers without access to fibre-optic broadband. BT standard broadband customers will still be able to access BT Sport via the BT Sport website and apps.