BT Vision viewers may lose Sky Sports coverage of events

Thousands of pay-TV viewers on BT Vision could lose their Sky Sports channels from this weekend. The ensuing battle between BSkyB and BT, which has erupted because of BT’s move into TV sports rights, has angered BT customers, now reflected on its website community forums. BT is all set to make its own 2 new channels on BT Sports, to be launched in the beginning of August, where live coverage of Premiership rugby and Premier League football will be aired. These channels will be slotted in place of the Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels, found on the Digital Terrestrial TV network. Instead, Sky Sports 1 and 2 will be delivered over BT’s Infinity, the fibre-optic based broadband network.

BT Vision customers who reside in an area where BT’s fibre-optic network is available, and who subscribe to Sky Sports, were sent letters. It was to explain to them why these subscribers will not be able to view the premium sports channels from this weekend onwards, unless they opted for BT’s superfast broadband Infinity connection. Estimates suggest that nearly 30,000 householders, of over 800,000 subscribers of BT Vision, also pay to watch Sky Sports and half of them are not on BT Infinity. According to a BT spokesperson the launch of the new sports channels and extra live TV channels has made them to make some changes in the delivery of different programming. So now the Sky Sports channels will be delivered through Infinity broadband lines. The spokesperson also said that to minimise affected customers living in an area not covered by BT Infinity, but wish to watch Sky Sports, they will be streamed the channels using a new technology, suitable over slower broadband lines, and for free so as to stop them from migrating to the Sky network. However existing BT customers on TV will not incur any extra cost to take up the Infinity package.

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