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Leading UK internet service provider (ISP) Virgin Media has raised concerns over the end goals of Project Canvas, the subscription-free broadband TV initiative.

Outlining his company's position on the scheme - which is designed to offer online programming through IPTV set-top boxes - Neil Berkett, Chief Executive at the ISP, said he supported its initial aims to broaden the customer experience.

However, writing for the Guardian's Organ Grinder blog, he questioned whether the project is "evolving in a way that matches the joint venture partners' rhetoric".

Mr Berkett dismissed suggestions that Virgin Media has attempted to block the development of the new technology, but noted that the ISP had been excluded from the programme due to its refusal to offer its own subscription TV services exclusively through "a Canvas-imposed interface".

He said that since this would be managed by the joint venture partners - the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, TalkTalk, BT and Arqiva - which "can give preference and prominence to their own channel content", it looks increasingly like "a fully-fledged competing distribution platform".

"Unless the consortium modifies its approach, rather than harnessing the full potential of digital technology, it will emerge as a restrictive and anti-competitive attempt to hijack the future of home entertainment," Mr Berkett claimed.

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