SKY/BBC Dispute:

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ITC supports BBC decision in BSkyB row

The TV watchdog has indicated it will side with the BBC in its ongoing row with BSkyB over whether the satellite broadcaster has the right to relegate BBC1 and BBC2 to the bottom of its list of channels. The BBC is preparing an official complaint to the independent television commission about Sky's threat to remove the BBC's channels from their current position as the first channels satellite viewers see when they switch on their TV sets. However, ahead of any possible inquiry, the ITC appears to have already decided the wording of its regulations guarantees the BBC the top slots. In a letter to trade magazine Broadcast, Robin Foster, the director of strategy, economics and finance at the ITC, came down strongly on the side of the BBC. "The priority for the ITC is to ensure viewers are able to gain easy access in the UK to available services and it is their interests which are paramount. "It is our belief that viewers have now come to expect to find BBC1 and BBC2 at channels 101 and 102 on the Sky EPG ," he said. The row began over the BBC's decision last month to withdraw from BSkyB's encryption service and broadcast its channels "in the clear" from its own satellite.
 
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