BT wins approval to offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 on Freeview

Ofcom has paved the way for BT to offer Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 on digital terrestrial TV by approving the use of spectrum capacity freed up by the digital switchover for the two sports channels.

Sky Sports: available through Freeview
Sky Sports: available through Freeview

In March the broadcasting regulator ruled that BSkyB must cut the price it charges competitors for its premium sports channels Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 following a long-running investigation, which meant BT can offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 for the first time.

Sky, Virgin Media and BT are all appealing the judgement and a case hearing at the Competition Appeal Tribunal will take place next Friday (25 June).

In April Virgin Media, Top Up TV and BT agreed a compromise with Sky which will enable them to offer the channels while the appeal is ongoing and in time for the 2010/11 football season.

The Ofcom investigation began in March 2007 when BT, defunct broadcaster Setanta, Top Up TV and Virgin Media asked the regulator to look at the way BSkyB sells its premium content to its competitors.

BT will now be able to broadcast Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 on spare capacity which has been freed up on due to the digital switchover.

In February Ofcom granted the BBC and Arqiva approval to use spare BBC capacity, which will become available ahead of digital switchover. This will be combined with Arqiva capacity to be offered for use for two new national terrestrial digital TV channels.

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