Talks between Go and Melita to explore the possibility of extending access to premium content to each other and share network infrastructure, have failed, Go said in a statement.

The two companies were asked to discuss the matter by the Social Affairs Committee last Tuesday.

Go said in a statement that during their meeting, Melita continued to insist on its position not to include access to infrastructure as part of the discussions of giving access to third party television providers to premium television content.

Go said it acquired the exclusive broadcasting rights over the English Premier League and Italian Serie A starting from the next football season, which kicks off in August.

It said that any discussions on the matter of giving any third-party access to premium content, including all sports content, were subject to the original terms of the bidding process and the contractual arrangements entered into with the international rights-holders.

Go said it pursued such content at a significant cost through a competitive bidding process, aimed at gaining a competitive position that mitigated channel capacity restrictions resulting from the number of frequencies assigned to Go by the authorities.

Melita, it said, was not faced with similar channel capacity restrictions and, therefore, the granting of access to premium content to third parties in isolation of the wider context, would lead to Go losing on the value the investment it made in the Premier League and Serie A.

It said that discussions limited solely to giving any third-party access to such content would reinforce Melita’s current hold on the television market and significantly limit Go’s ability to compete in the premium television market.

Such discussions went against the spirit of fostering competition and long term sustained consumer welfare.

Eventual discussions, Go said, had to respect the underlying appeal of the Social Affairs Committee that there should be a fair level playing field in the interest of consumers through discussions on content as well as infrastructure access.

It said it remained available to resume discussions should Melita rethink its position and agreed to discussions the ultimate objective of which would be to ensure a fair level playing field in the television market in the interest of consumers.

See also:

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20100626/local/melita-accuses-go-of-using-delaying-tactics

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