Investigation into Sky’s compliance with end-of-contract notifications for pay-TV customers
|Investigation into||Sky UK Limited|
|Case opened||02 December 2020|
The investigation will consider whether Sky has complied with the requirement to issue end-of-contract notifications to certain pay-TV customers.
|Relevant legal provision(s)||
General Condition C1.10
Following an investigation, Ofcom has determined that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Sky has contravened, and continues to contravene, GC C1.10 of the General Conditions from at least 26 March 2020. Ofcom has therefore issued a Notification to Sky under section 96A of the Communications Act 2003.
We have provisionally found that as a provider of pay TV services transmitted by means of satellite distribution network, Sky provides an electronic communications service. As such, we provisionally consider that Sky is a Regulated Provider within the meaning of GC C1.10 and is required to comply with that condition in respect of its pay TV services.
Sky now has the opportunity to make representations to Ofcom on the matters contained in the Notification before Ofcom makes a final decision in accordance with section 96C of the Act.
We aim to reach our final decision in this case by the end of summer 2021 and will publish our findings accordingly.
On 15 February 2020, Ofcom introduced a requirement for broadband, mobile, home phone and pay-TV companies to notify their residential and business customers when their minimum contract period is coming to an end.
GC C1.10 states that:
Regulated Providers must send an End-of-Contract Notification to a Subscriber, in the manner and form specified by Conditions C1.11 to C1.14, if each of the following requirements are met:
(a) the Subscriber has a contract with the Regulated Provider for Public Electronic Communications Services, other than machine-to-machine transmission services;
(b) the contract has a Fixed Commitment Period; and
(c) the terms of the contract provide (or governing law provides) for the contract to be automatically prolonged after the expiry of the Fixed Commitment Period.
Regulated Provider is defined as all providers of Public Electronic Communications Services for the purposes of this Condition.
Ofcom considers that, as a provider of pay-TV services transmitted by means of satellite distribution network, Sky provides an electronic communications service and, as such, is a Regulated Provider within the meaning of GC C1.10 and is required to comply with that condition in respect of its pay-TV services.
Sky does not consider that its standalone pay-TV services fall within the definition of an electronic communications service and maintains it is not required to comply with GC 1.10 for such services.
Following discussions with Sky, we accept that there is a genuine difference of opinion as to the legal interpretation and scope of the term ‘electronic communications service’. We have therefore decided to open an investigation (PDF, 307.4 KB) to examine whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that Sky has failed to comply with its obligations under C1.10.
If Ofcom considers that it has reasonable grounds to believe that Sky has contravened, or is contravening, its obligations, it will issue a notification to Sky and give Sky the opportunity to make representations on that notification. Ofcom expects to determine its next steps by January 2021.
Amy Hemmings (email: email@example.com)