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Sky has accused BT of using sports coverage as "a gimmick" to promote its home broadband service.

As the rivalry between the two service providers intensifies, Sky’s Managing Director of Sales and Marketing Stephen Van Rooyen has criticised BT's plan to offer free BT Sport access to every home broadband customer.

He claimed the move is its competitor's "latest attempt to stem the flow of customers" who have switched to rival broadband providers in recent years.

Mr Stephen Van Rooyen argued that BT Sport will not be 'free', warning that customers may pay for access through more expensive broadband and phone services. 

He claimed that even after BT's latest announcement, the vast majority of Sky Broadband customers are still paying less money for an equivalent service.

"Our approach is to offer high-quality broadband at great value with the best customer service," Mr Van Rooyen stated.

"That’s why customers have made us the UK’s fastest growing broadband provider."

He said Sky Sports is "playing in a different league to BT Sport", with three-quarters of live Premier League matches to be broadcast on its platform.

In addition, Mr Van Rooyen pointed to Sky's broad range of sporting coverage - including Champions League football, Test cricket, Formula 1, Lions rugby union and Ryder Cup golf.

"Our coverage keeps on getting better and this year will be the best yet on Sky Sports," he stated.

"For us, sport isn’t a marketing gimmick to promote another product. We’re long-term supporters and our sustained investment has benefited sports fans and British sport at all levels."

The new BT Sport channels - BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN - will show top-flight football action from many of the world's top leagues - including England, Scotland, Germany, Brazil, Italy and the US - plus the FA Cup and the Europa League.

BT Sport has also secured the rights to WTA women's tennis, Aviva Premiership rugby union, Moto GP and action sport and lifestyle programming from Red Bull Media House.

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