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					                              4 BEECH HOUSE ROAD
                            CROYDON SURREY CR0 1JP


8th November 2001

Mr Jim Niblett
OFTEL
50 Ludgate Hill
LONDON EC4M 7JJ


Dear Mr Niblett,

I am writing in response to your Consultation Document on ‘The pricing of
conditional access services and related issues’.

I strongly support the principle that public service broadcasters should have their
television services carried on all three digital platforms, be they satellite, cable or
terrestrial, and would particularly like to see matters arranged so that they may secure
carriage on Sky at reduced cost.

While I welcome the news that ITV is to launch its regional services on satellite later
this month, the problem of conditional access remains. Owing to copyright
restrictions, ITV cannot show films or sporting events unencrypted, meaning that
viewers will have to switch back to terrestrial in order to watch them. It is still far
from clear how ITV will be able to resolve this problem in the absence of an
agreement with Sky.

As I understand it, Sky Digital has already reserved space for ITV1 (or at least one
regional version of it) on one of its transponders, but owing to ITV’s insistence on
going it alone on satellite carriage, it would appear that this will be unused. Surely
there is a case for it being used to carry the ITV1 London service, on the same basis
as cable?

It is interesting to note that Sky Digital has managed to clear programme rights for
BBC1 and BBC2 in Ireland, thereby allowing its subscribers in the Republic to watch
these channels, and I understand that similar arrangements are being negotiated with
Channel 4 and Channel 5. It would obviously make sense for UTV to be encrypted,
although Sky would doubtless seek to clear rights for the Republic, thereby allowing
it to compete directly with cable and MMDS operators there, by offering all the UK
terrestrial channels..

Yours sincerely




Kenneth Westmoreland

				
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