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Sky fights back over BBC decision

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The BBC could be dropped from the top of the Sky Digital EPG as a result of its decision to stop using the company's conditional access system, it has emerged today.

The corporation pays Sky £150,000 for the first two slots on the EPG, but insiders today told the Media Guardian that it had "no automatic right" to hold on to them after it abandons the system at the end of May.

The BBC will still require the use of one aspect of Sky's system: that which will automatically present each viewer with their own regional versions of BBC One and Two. The threat of being relegated into the depths of the EPG is expected to be one of tactics used by Sky when negotiating a fee for use of this aspect.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said it would still go ahead with the plans even if an agreement could not be reached with Sky and, if necessary, would take the matter to telecoms regulator Oftel.