Broadband Content Fights: Virgin vs Publishers; BBC vs Sony/MS; BT vs Ofcom; Carphone vs BT

Highlights from a conflict-laden weekend…

Virgin vs publishers: Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) is “already in talks with unnamed content providers about paying to have their content delivered faster than others”, says DigitalSpy, reading an interview with CEO Neil Berkett in the latest RTS magazine. Berkett: “This net neutrality thing is a load of bollocks.” “Berkett even warned that public service broadcasters who choose not to pay for faster access to Virgin’s subscriber base would end up in ‘bus lanes’, effectively having their content delivered to consumers at a lower speed.”

BBC vs Sony/MS: BBC and Nintendo may have dressed up a video encoding algorithm in Cannes as a deal to bring iPlayer to Wii, but bringing the service to other consoles is more difficult. Future media and technology controller Erik Huggers: “If you want to get on the PlayStation or Xbox, they want control of the look, the feel and the experience; they want it done within their shop, and their shop only.” (via

BT (NYSE: BT) vs Ofcom: Incoming BT CEO Ian Livingston has told Ofcom he won’t spend billions on a national fibre network and hand it over to competitors without changes to BT’s “universal service obligations“: “We will not spend material amounts of money that will guarantee that we lose money for shareholders. It’s just not going to happen. We want changes to the USO to reflect a fibre world.” Via Sunday Times.

Carphone vs BT: Carphone Warehouse predictably is “up in arms” over the likelihood of BT Openreach being allowed to increase the £6.67-per-line it charges third parties for last-mile local loop unbundling. CEO Charles Dunstone said Openreach was “an absolute shambles”. And he confirmed he was interested in buying Tiscali’s UK unit. Via