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Last Updated: Monday, 5 March 2007, 20:50 GMT
Virgin TV in BSkyB legal threat
Virgin Media on-screen notice
BSkyB basic channels were removed from Virgin Media last week
Virgin Media has threatened to take legal action against BSkyB if a heated programming row between the two sides is not resolved in 30 days.

The cable TV firm said it would seek damages if a deal could not be hammered out between the UK broadcasters.

BSkyB basic channels, including Sky One and Sky News, were cut from Virgin last week following a row over the fees BSkyB wanted to charge for the service.

BSkyB said it would defend itself vigorously if the matter went to court.

'Threats and posturing'

Virgin Media chief executive Steve Burch said his firm was "not interested in prolonging this dispute any longer than necessary".

However, he added: "We will not allow Virgin Media or our customers to be the victim of Sky's market power. In the interest of the consumer, we want these issues resolved quickly."

Virgin said legal remedies sought would include supply of BSkyB's basic channels at a "reasonable commercial rate", as well as fair payment for the satellite broadcaster's rights to show Virgin Media TV channels, including Living and Bravo.

A spokesman for BSkyB said the firm would "defend itself vigorously should Virgin Media decide to extend its PR campaign to the courts".

He added: "We are as disappointed as Virgin Media's customers that the channels they enjoy are no longer available to them.

"We urge Virgin Media to set aside its threats and posturing and engage genuinely in a sensible negotiation to restore Sky's basic channels to its customers."

The National Consumer Council last week accused Virgin Media and BSkyB of "behaving like children", and said it was considering asking for a review of the digital television market in the wake of the row.

Virgin Media was formed from the merger of cable TV firm NTL and Virgin Mobile. The firm's biggest shareholder is entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.

BSkyB is run by media mogul Rupert Murdoch's son James.

If you're a Virgin Media customer what are you going to do?
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23340 Votes Cast
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