Virgin Media chief executive Neil Berkett says his joint action with BT over Birmingham City Council’s own broadband deployment will establish an important principal that state aid is only available for white areas.
The Labour run council has raised £10 million to install fibre-optic cabling in parts of the city. The money comes from a £150 million government fund that is planned to provide broadband connectivity to 20 UK cities.
“The concept of part of urban funding, which the government put in place, if controlled, is terribly sensible from a UK plc point of view. Execution was poor, Birmingham City Council unfortunately, went way outside the guidelines.” Berkett told an investor call following Tuesday’s third quarter results. “While you’ll never get it accurate to the last 10 or 20 houses, we’re OK with that, but state aid can only go in where there is a white area of no competing product.
Speaking on the planned rollout of the cablenet’s TV Anywhere service, Berkett said that it would include all of the Sky Basics channels, but not the premiums, which would be discussed in forthcoming contract renewal negotiations with BSkyB. There were also restrictions on channels that would be available on tablet devices.