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Ofcom has announced it is to scrap rules forcing Sky to offer its flagship sports channels to rivals for a discounted price.

The regulator claims the rise of competitors such as BT and the increased availability of its channels means the rules are no longer needed.

Despite the move analysts have insisted that major price rises for consumers have been ruled out, for the time-being at least.

Andrew Hogley, a telecoms analyst at Mirabaud Securities, told The Guardian: "Whilst we welcome the removal of this regulation on Sky we do not believe that this development is likely to result in any significant shift in the UK pay-TV landscape.

“The regulation applied only to a small number of TV providers, principally Liberty Global’s Virgin Media and BT, but we note that Sky has also been reselling the content to several other platforms.

"Sky generates material revenues from these wholesale arrangements and with the cost of the football rights set to step up significantly from next season we believe that Sky will want to continue to wholesale the rights widely."

Nevertheless, the news is likely to come as a boost to Sky and its position in the market, which has been dented by the rise of BT Sport, with the latter spending billions of pounds on Premier League and Champions League coverage.

The rise of BT saw the provider named as a primary competitor named by Ofcom during its review into the “wholesale must offer”, which was first introduced back in 2010 in an attempt to ensure Sky did not abuse its position as the dominant player in the market.

The ruling has been the subject of various legal challenges since it was introduced, with various parties citing substantial changes in the UK market, with newer players such as TalkTalk TV, Sky’s internet-based Now TV, EE TV and Apple TV all now competing.

Speaking about the ruling, a spokeswoman for Sky said: “We are pleased that Ofcom has decided to remove the ‘wholesale must-offer’ condition. As the evidence demonstrates, we are, and have always been, more than happy to make our channels available on other platforms.”

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