Allow Foreign TV Channels on Sky

Margaret Thatcher saw the value of free speech and passed laws allowing UK citizens to easily watch foreign satellite TV channels. Freedom of speech and access to foreign sources helps democracy abroad. Yet in the UK the previous mixed-provider platform on Astra has been replaced with a system controlled by just one broadcaster, Sky. In theory non-UK channels can operate on the Sky platform, but in reality every channel is UK regulated by Ofcom or tacitly approved by Sky. It's market power makes direct competitors or types of channels Sky disapproves of unable to access the UK market. They can't get a transponder slot. If they do,m they can't get listed on the Sky EPG. If they do the cost is £25,000 or more per year.

This is an insurmountable hurdle for, say, a small French regional channel, that might want to broadcast to ex-patriot French working in Britain. A custom dish set-up is not an option for many people, particularly anyone in temporary accommodation.

The Sky platform has just 2 European channels, both bland state run "Best Of" packages. We should be strengthening our ties, not weakening them.

Not a Government issue? Not a freedom issue? Yes, Mr Moderator, it is. It will take Government action to force Sky (and Virgin, BT, etc) to carry european channels on request and at low cost, without UK regulation. (Dual regulation does not work).

Give the UK people freedom to hear the rest of the world, not just what big business wants us to hear.

Why is this idea important?

Margaret Thatcher saw the value of free speech and passed laws allowing UK citizens to easily watch foreign satellite TV channels. Freedom of speech and access to foreign sources helps democracy abroad. Yet in the UK the previous mixed-provider platform on Astra has been replaced with a system controlled by just one broadcaster, Sky. In theory non-UK channels can operate on the Sky platform, but in reality every channel is UK regulated by Ofcom or tacitly approved by Sky. It's market power makes direct competitors or types of channels Sky disapproves of unable to access the UK market. They can't get a transponder slot. If they do,m they can't get listed on the Sky EPG. If they do the cost is £25,000 or more per year.

This is an insurmountable hurdle for, say, a small French regional channel, that might want to broadcast to ex-patriot French working in Britain. A custom dish set-up is not an option for many people, particularly anyone in temporary accommodation.

The Sky platform has just 2 European channels, both bland state run "Best Of" packages. We should be strengthening our ties, not weakening them.

Not a Government issue? Not a freedom issue? Yes, Mr Moderator, it is. It will take Government action to force Sky (and Virgin, BT, etc) to carry european channels on request and at low cost, without UK regulation. (Dual regulation does not work).

Give the UK people freedom to hear the rest of the world, not just what big business wants us to hear.

Remove Core Telecoms Infrastructure Away From BT

When BT was privatised, a large amount of public asset, namely the telecoms arm of the GPO passed over to the private sector. This then duly benefitted those who were able to purchase shares in BT.

When the Gas and Electricity markets were deregulated. A new company called Transco was created to handle the infrastructure.

There should be an organization similar to Transco for the country's telecoms infrastructure. Openreach does not fill this criteria as it is ultimately owned by BT.

Why is this idea important?

When BT was privatised, a large amount of public asset, namely the telecoms arm of the GPO passed over to the private sector. This then duly benefitted those who were able to purchase shares in BT.

When the Gas and Electricity markets were deregulated. A new company called Transco was created to handle the infrastructure.

There should be an organization similar to Transco for the country's telecoms infrastructure. Openreach does not fill this criteria as it is ultimately owned by BT.

Force BT Wholesale to provide broadband only lines

Broadband users who are not in a cable TV area are forced to have a telephone line in order to get broadband. This is unecessary.

You can add a telephone service on top of a broadband line. This will increase competition and reduce the cost of phone calls.

Telephone charges are around 3p per minute for local calls but the wholesale price for national calls is 0.1p per minute.

Why is this idea important?

Broadband users who are not in a cable TV area are forced to have a telephone line in order to get broadband. This is unecessary.

You can add a telephone service on top of a broadband line. This will increase competition and reduce the cost of phone calls.

Telephone charges are around 3p per minute for local calls but the wholesale price for national calls is 0.1p per minute.