ISPs angered by BSkyB deal

ISPs are up in arms about the potential damage to their business from BSkyB's set-top box give away.

The telecoms watchdog, Oftel, has no plans to intervene unless ISPs direct their complaints at the watchdog. ZDNet has received several emails from angry Internet providers who fear the satellite broadcaster's freebie digital TV plan will kill them off. Oftel spokesman David Spofforth said BSkyB's deal was about free digital TV not free Web access. "It's a symptom of the dynamics of the market," said Spofforth.

ISPA secretary general, Nicholas Lansman, warned that aggressive cut-price deals, such as BSkyB's, could threaten the UK Internet industry and consumers in the long term. "The Net industry is poised to be very important in the history of communication. In the UK, it's developing fast but if larger companies bundle services it could potentially force smaller ISPs out of business," he said.

The speed of convergence of telecoms, broadcasting and the Internet made it difficult for the regulators, according to Lansman. "Convergence is happening so fast that regulatory bodies cannot keep up. Oftel's powers are limited by its own structure," said Lansman.

ISPs should contact Oftel direct with any complaints, according to Spofforth.


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