LONDON: UK cable services provider Virgin Media is to offer a branded free-to-air digital set-top box in areas where cable is not available. The box will be offered free to customers who subscribe to Virgin's broadband, phone and mobile services bundle.

The new Freeview-powered service will increase the already bitter rivalry with satellite TV provider BSkyB which is due to launch a terrestrial pay-TV service later this year.

The two rivals have been at loggerheads since early March when Sky pulled its channels from Virgin's platform after they failed to reach agreement over carriage fees.

Currently Virgin (formerly known as NTL) can offer its TV service only to the 50% or so of UK households that can receive cable.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff