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By: MarkJ - 1 July, 2010 (6:07 AM)
bt vision uk broadband sky sports tvThe BT Vision IPTV service has announced that it is launching the "UK's best value deal" for Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 for just £16.99 a month. This follows news earlier in the week that BT and BSkyB ( Sky Broadband ) had signed a new wholesale contract for the supply of Sky's popular sports TV channels (here).

BT will be able to sign up customers for these packages from today. Research by the operator indicated that around 4m more people in the UK would like the Sky Sports channels, but felt it was too expensive. BT Vision customers can add the channels for a simple price on a monthly contract. It's also possible to take either channel separately from the other for just £11.99.

Those brave enough to commit to a bundle of broadband and calls for 24 long months can get the BTtotal sports package’, starting at just £6.99 for Sky Sports 1, ESPN and ‘on demand’ sport from BT Vision or £11.99 for Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2, ESPN and ‘on demand’ sport.

Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive of BT Retail, said:

"Football fans will be cheering our new prices, which mark an end to paying for basic channels when you only want the sport.

We expect that entry prices as low as £6.99 will welcome in a huge number of extra customers who’d love to enjoy these channels, but thought they were too expensive.

A more competitive market will ensure that customers continue to get the best sport for the sharpest prices and this opening of the market will be in the best interests of customers."

The move has only been possible because of a competition ruling by Ofcom (here), which found that Sky had market power in the wholesale provision of premium channels. The ruling is still being challenged but in the meantime Sky are obliged to provide their Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 to the wholesale market at regulated prices.

Ofcom set a wholesale price of £10.63 for each of Sky Sports 1 and 2, when sold on a standalone basis, which is 23.4% below the current wholesale price to cable operators. However BSkyB has been sneaky today and increased the price of its channels by around £3 and apparently without telling BT. The result is that BT are likely to lose a lot of money. Fair play Sky?

The result could also be that customers might find BT Vision's prices to be a bargain deal in comparison to Sky's own offering.
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