Ofcom has today outlined plans to review the ‘wholesale must-offer’ obligation placed on BSkyB in relation to its Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels.
The 'wholesale must offer' obligation opened the way for BT and now defunct Top Up TV to offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 via digital terrestrial television alongside Freeview channels from 2010 to 2013.
As part of the Pay TV Review Statement of March 2010, Ofcom committed to
review the wholesale must-offer remedy it placed on BSkyB. The 'wholesale must-offer' obligation was challenged by BSkyB through the legal system, before reaching the Court of Appeal, which subsequently confirmed Ofcom’s power to impose
the wholesale must-offer. Following that legal victory for Ofcom, it has decided that it can proceed with the review, although BSkyB is likely take further legal action.
This review is to take into account any changes in the market since 2010. Ofcom has promised to
provide an update in due course on what their next steps will be.
Ofcom is separately considering a complaint from BT under the Competition Act
1998 which alleges that Sky has abused a dominant position in relation to
negotiations over the supply of Sky Sports 1 and 2 for BT’s YouView platform.
Currently, BT can only offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 streamed to its older BT Vision platform, as this platform was originally used to receive the sports channels over-the-air via digital terrestrial television, and was part of the 2010 arrangement with Sky to allow BT access to Sky Sports 1 and 2. In June, BT will close the oldest part of the BT Vision platform, leaving just the newer Vision+ boxes able to stream Sky Sports via BT Infinity to subscribers.