Sky who announced Sky Picnic a year ago has announced a suspension of any launch preparations according to DigitalSpy.co.uk.
Sky Picnic was to have centered around a broadband, telephone and TV service that used a custom set-top box providing three subscription channels using digital terrestrial TV.
It seems the suspension is down to the 18 months that it has taken Ofcom so far to look at the proposal and as yet no end to this decision making process is in sight.
"But the blunt truth is that Ofcom has spent 18 months looking at our proposals and there is no end in sight. The Picnic team have done everything they can to prepare for launch and there’s nothing left to be achieved until Ofcom makes its mind up. While regulation works at its own pace, no business can go on like this indefinitely so we’ve had to take some pragmatic decisions. We will decide whether to reactivate the project when we have regulatory clarity."Sky spokesperson talking about Sky Picnic
The proposed service has attracted criticism in the past from some quarters, saying that Sky already has a large enough market via its satellite services for TV content. Only in the last couple of months have DVB-T2 test broadcasts taken place which could eventually see HD content on digital terrestrial television.
Update 11pm Ofcom has issued a response to Sky's statement, which can be read in full on the regulators website:
"Ofcom rejects the implications of BSkyB’s comments today and would highlight the following facts:
- Having announced Picnic in a press statement in February 2007, BSkyB took two months to submit the necessary application and a further two months to provide sufficient information to enable Ofcom to publish a consultation document on the matter.
- When Ofcom consulted on both the Picnic proposal and the PayTV Market Investigation, several stakeholders, including BSkyB, responded late to these submissions. BSkyB submitted its response on the PayTV Market Investigation over six weeks after the 26 February 2008 deadline.
- We have received a number of supplementary submissions from stakeholders after deadline dates which we are bound to consider. The most recent one from BSkyB arrived as late as 13 August 2008.
- BSkyB has raised a series of procedural points throughout this period, including a repeated concern that we are spending insufficient time considering its arguments."Extract from Ofcom statement
It would seem that perhaps there is no love lost between the two parties here, one thing is for certain any tit for tat exchanges that prolong any decision make it easier for a new entrant to sneak into the market.