Virgin threatens court action over Sky rowIt wants dispute settled within 30 days

06 March 2007

 

Virgin Media has said it will take BSkyB to the high court if its dispute over the carriage of Sky channels on its service is not resolved within 30 days.

The move comes after Sky's basic channels were removed from the Virgin service at the end of last month after both sides failed to reach an agreement over charges for the Sky package.

Virgin Media said it would seek damages if a deal could not be reached with Sky.

It has claimed Sky refused its offer to try to settle the dispute through arbitration by an independent expert.

At the same time, Sky said Virgin had rejected its latest offer of 3p per customer per day, and had refused to table a new offer of its own.

Sky channels

The channels affected included Sky One and Two, Sky News and Sky Sports News.

Virgin said it is seeking remedies including the supply of Sky's basic channels at a reasonable rate, as well as fair payment from Sky for the broadcast of its own channels, which include Living and Bravo.

Virgin Media's Chief Executive Steve Burch said: ‘We are not interested in prolonging this dispute any longer than necessary, but we will not allow Virgin Media or our customers to be the victim of Sky's market power.’

Virgin added that it had chosen to publicise its actions because ‘given the ongoing media coverage of this issue, consumers have a right to understand the facts behind the headlines and what Virgin Media is doing to put things right’.

'PR campaign'

However, Sky has hit back saying the accusations were without foundation. It added that it will defend itself vigorously should Virgin Media decide to extend its 'PR campaign to the courts.’