The regulator says it will remove the regulatory obligations imposed in 2005 on Crown Castle UK Limited and National Transcommunications Limited (NTL) that had bought the BBC and IBA transmitter networks. Since then, Arqiva has become subject to various remedies under the UK merger control regime, which remain in force today and effectively incorporate the regulation imposed in 2005.
However, Ofcom says the new move is “conditional on the continued presence and effectiveness of the merger undertakings”.
A full merger of the two companies took place in 2007 when Macquarie Bank combined the brands as Arqiva.
The majority of UK television and radio transmission is now in the hands of Arqiva leading to a number of perceived concerns among stakeholders. Ofcom wants Arqiva to continue to demonstrate that it will respond to market requirements and commercial negotiation of contracts.
Ofcom has concluded that there are two markets for broadcasting transmission services: the provision of network access for digital terrestrial television broadcasters and the provision of network access for analogue and digital radio broadcasters.
Ofcom is now notifying the European Commission of its concerns and will later publish a full statement once the process is complete.