Ofcom draft guidelines for technical platform services

Ofcom consultation (84 pages, PDF) containing draft guidelines and an explanatory statement on the regulation of charges for technical platform services (TPS). The guidelines would be intended to explain how Ofcom would normally interpret the regulatory conditions placed on SSSL to offer conditional access, EPG services and other TPS on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRND) terms.

This follows an initial consultation paper released in November 2005. Ofcom's proposed approach maintains a desire (a) that Sky operates a tariff structure rather than negotiates individually with TPS customers and (b) that Sky is able to justify tariffs by linking charges for TPS to data on the costs that Sky incurred/incurs in developing and running services on the DSat platform (Sky is encouraged to allocate "common costs" on the basis of transparent and objective criteria such as the revenue that a customers buying CA services are expected to earn from pay TV operations). Ofcom recognises however that tariffs could risk "pricing off" a particular TPS customer from the platform and suggests that charging such customers on an off-tariff basis might be appropriate. Ofcom's statement does not discuss the risk that constraining Sky's overall revenue from TPS charges to levels that can be reconciled with identifiable DSat platform cost creates a risk that Sky abuses its dominant position (see this Reckon comment on the initial consultation) and whether this feature of its approach is proportionate to the FRND objective.

Update, 21 September 2006: Ofcom decision on revised guidelines, with explanatory statement.

Filed under Media, Ofcom.

Reckon LLP is an economics consultancy with expertise in data analysis, economic regulation and competition law.

About Reckon