Virgin Media takes Sky to high court


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Virgin Media (VM) has taken its dispute with rival broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) to court.

The pay-TV, broadband and phone market provider, formed last year from a merger between NTL, Telewest and Virgin Mobile, has filed proceedings in the high court in a last-ditch effort to resolve the issue.

At stake are the fees the providers charge each other in return for allowing their customers access to their opposite number's services.

VM says that BSkyB "forced" it to accept a reduction of the fees it pays in January before demanding double the fees for Sky channels on the VM network a month later. BSkyB has yet to comment.

"This dispute is one very specific example of how UK consumers are being denied the benefits of a diverse, dynamic and competitive pay TV market," VM chief executive Steve Burch said.

"Litigation is obviously a serious step and a last resort but we are determined to have these issues resolved as quickly and fairly as possible."

VM customers currently lack access to Sky's basic channels after the two companies failed to resolve the row before a March 1st deadline.

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