BT takes a gamble and pushes ahead with package cuts

BT will stick to its pledge to slash the fees it charges customers to watch Sky Sports in a multimillion-pound gamble that BSkyB will lose its appeal.

Virgin Media and Top Up TV, who will also be providing customers with the service, are as yet undecided on their pricing policies for the service.

The telecoms giant has long sought to add Sky Sports 1 and 2 to its pay-TV roster on BT Vision, and earlier this year said it would undercut rivals with fees as low as £15 a month for some packages. While yesterday's deal between BSkyB and Ofcom means BT Vision can show live Premier League games for the first time next season, along with Virgin and Top Up, it currently still has to pay the full price on the rate card.

The difference between that and the proposed lower price will be put in escrow. If BSkyB's appeal over Ofcom's original ruling is successful, the companies will have the money returned.

A spokesman for BT said: "We are going to take the gamble that Sky loses its appeal." The sum will change depending on the number of customers, but there is expected to be more than £10m in escrow by the ruling, one source close to the process said. He added: "We are on the same page that we were when Ofcom announced its original ruling. Our pricing plans won't be affected unless Sky wins. For this season we will be offering customers a lower price."

A source close to BSkyB said: "Retail pricing is their concern. If they do it before the outcome of the appeal is known, on their own heads be it."

Virgin Media already offers Sky Sports packages, but insiders say it currently provides the service at a loss.

Neil Berkett, the chief executive, has previously declared that Virgin Media will look at cutting costs for the service, but yesterday the company said it would wait to see the rate at which Sky offers its HD sports channels before committing to lower prices. Unveiling Virgin Media's quarterly results on Wednesday, Mr Berkett said the HD channels would bring in more customers. Sky said it would offer Sky Sports HD at "commercial terms".

Nick Markham, the boss of Top Up TV, said the company had yet to decide a pricing structure. "We need to sit down and ask ourselves if we want to gamble," he said. Top Up hopes to have the service ready a month before the Premier League kicks off.

"We want a bit of a run-up," Mr Markham said. "It'll be good to tell people about it during the World Cup when everyone is talking about football."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

Guru Careers: Executive Assistant / PA

£30 - 35k + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Executive Assist...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable