Virgin Media has filed papers with the high court accusing Sky of attempting to "effectively eliminate" it.
In the papers, the cable operator has based its case on the premise that Sky forced it to accept lower carriage fees for the Virgin Media Television channels, such as Living and Bravo, while "imposing" higher fees for making the Sky basic channels, such as Sky One and Sky News
, available to Virgin.
Virgin Media's case ties together the Virgin Media Television carriage negotiations with the later ones involving the Sky Basics bouquet. Citing sections of the Competition Act 1998 and an article of an EU Treaty, Virgin has claimed that Sky's actions - and what it termed "abusive" behaviour during the negotiations - amounted to a plot "designed to stifle the emergence of greater potential competition ... to strengthen BSkyB's dominant position on the pay TV retail market and pay TV purchasing market."
Virgin Media has claimed that Sky initially offered to pay nothing for the Virgin Media Television channels, a figure that later rose to £5.1m, compared to £35.6m in 2006. Furthermore, Virgin revealed that Sky's final offer for its basic channels consisted of £40.3m for linear carriage and £48.4m for high definition and on demand content, which it claimed was 71% and 105% up on last year.