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Ofcom Won’t Investigate Internet TV Platform ‘Canvas’

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. regulator Ofcom said it won’t investigate the Internet-television platform of BT Group Plc, ITV Plc and the British Broadcasting Corp. after competitors said the venture could harm competition.

Internet television is an “emerging sector” and it would be premature to open an investigation, Ofcom said today in a statement. Virgin Media Inc. and British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc had complained that the venture’s partners might withhold content from competing platforms.

The Project Canvas venture, formed with TalkTalk Telecom Group Plc, will build an open, Internet-connected television-on-demand platform with common technical standards. TalkTalk said in July that the venture, to be known as YouView, will start by mid-2011. The platform was originally planned to start at the end of this year.

An investigation would be “premature at the current stage of YouView’s development given the absence of a clear risk of consumer harm,” Ofcom Chief Executive Officer Ed Richards said in the statement. “If evidence does emerge in the future that YouView causes harm to the interests of viewers and consumers we may reconsider whether to investigate.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Browning in London jbrowning9@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vidya Root at vroot@bloomberg.net.

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