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The chief operating officer of Sky, Mike Darcey, has accused his counterparts in BT of being over-reliant on government regulation and failing to step up to the challenges created by a competitive media market in the UK.

Following on from BT's claims that a "failure" of market competition in the British pay TV sector contributed to the recent demise of Setanta Sport's UK operations, Mr Darcey also levelled his criticisms at Virgin Media, which he suggests is similarly trying to get channels "on the cheap" without actively bidding for rights themselves.

However, this has left Mr Darcey open to counter-claims from BT, with a spokesperson telling Digital Spy that Sky had adopted a similar strategy with its broadband services.

Predictably, ISP Sky had a response close at hand, with a statement published by the news provider reading: "We acknowledge that access to BT's network has helped us to bring more choice and lower prices to broadband customers.

"But BT has also helped us out by charging such high prices for BT Broadband and giving so many of its customers a good reason to switch to Sky Broadband."

This comes as the communications watchdog Ofcom prepares to publish its latest consultation on the UK pay TV sector.

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