UK Regulator Clears BSkyB Over Alleged ITV Access Overcharge

24 October 2002

British telecoms regulator Oftel has cleared satellite-TV operator BSkyB of the overcharging claim brought against it by leading terrestrial network ITV.

The flagship ITV1 channel finally gained a spot on BSkyB’s Sky Digital line-up (the UK’s leading dTV service) after tortuous negotiations last year, but immediately filed a complaint over the £17 million ($26.3m; €26.9m) annual fee demanded for the privilege.

However, Oftel ruled that the price was “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory.”

ITV also claimed that there had been “anti-competitive price discrimination” between the amount it was charged and that asked of other broadcasters with public service duties. Again, this was dismissed by the regulator, which found the deals with the BBC and Channel 4 were made under “significantly different prevailing market and commercial conditions.”

That means the BBC and C4 may face higher prices when their contracts with Sky are renegotiated next year.

Data sourced from: The Times (London); additional content by WARC staff