BiB gets 'amber light'

BiB gets ‘amber light’
Melanie Reynolds British Interactive Broadcasting (BiB) – the digital satellite TV consortium involving BSkyB and BT – looks set to go ahead after BT agreed to meet the conditions laid down by the European Commission. The EC has been investigating the formation of BiB due to the competitive issues the alliance raises. BT has now agreed to sell its broadband cable TV interests and allow third party access to its set-top boxes to meet the EC’s concerns. The EC approval process now moves to its next stage, involving consultation with third parties. “It’s not quite a green light, it’s an amber but we’re confident that approval will be given,” said a BT spokesman. The cable TV operations in Westminster and Milton Keynes had raised competition issues and BT agreed to the sale because it believes BiB “represents a major strategic thrust into interactive TV services”, whereas the cable operations are not core to the company’s strategy. The third party access agreement aims to ensure competition by providing other companies access to set-top boxes and software needed to create and run the interactive services. BiB combines telecoms services and digital satellite TV to enable interactive TV services such as video-on-demand and home-shopping. BT is confident the service will be launched as planned this summer.

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