Media regulator Ofcom has launched a consultation on proposals to regulate the UK's terrestrial broadcast transmission services market.
The market's primary players, ntl Broadcast and Crown Castle, handle the distribution of content from broadcasters to viewers.
ntl Broadcast is the up-for-auction transmission arm of UK cable group ntl. Crown Castle was acquired in June by the owner of Britain's gas and electricity networks, National Grid Transco, in a £1.1bn deal. The company had been the UK arm of Crown Castle International, the US mast and broadcasting network operator.
Ofcom says the market for terrestrial broadcasting transmission is "appropriate for regulation" under an EU regulatory framework. It says ntl and Crown Castle "each have significant market power in providing access to their respective masts, site networks and shared antenna systems for national, regional and metropolitan broadcasting".
The pair also enjoy "significant market power in providing managed transmission services for the purpose of delivering national analogue and digital terrestrial television and radio broadcasts in the UK".
Ofcom is therefore proposing that ntl and Crown Castle must provide network access to their respective masts and sites and managed transmission services on reasonable request, and avoid discrimination in providing network access and managed transmission services. They must also publish the terms on which access to the masts and sites will be made available.
Ofcom has set a closing date for consultation responses of December 22.
Lovelacemedia | 16.11.2004