BT and Sky Sports’ increasingly vituperate battle for pay-TV and broadband marketshare escalated at the weekend, after it emerged that some BT customers who take Sky Sports as part of their bundle will no longer be able to watch the channels.
The change comes because BT is commandeering the two digital TV slots that were previously set aside for Sky Sports for its own soon-to-launch BT Sport channels. The result is that Sky Sports 1 and 2 will only be available to BT customers when streamed over the internet.
This means that only BT customers who receive a fast enough traditional copper broadband service for streaming TV or who are signed up to the super fast Infinity fibre broadband offering will be able to carry on watching Sky Sports.
BT customers were notified of the change in writing in advance and given the chance to switch to the faster service.
However, because BT’s fibre broadband service does not yet cover the whole of the UK, some BT customers will not be able to upgrade until the coverage is expanded.
It is thought that 15,000 of the 30,000 BT customers who take Sky Sports will no longer be able to watch the channels.
To compensate for the switch-off, BT is offering those affected free BT Sport and free broadband for six months.
A BT spokesperson told The Guardian: "A minority of customers who do not have a fast enough copper broadband connection, will lose Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 this summer.”