Virgin Media Goes to Court in BSkyB Dispute

Virgin Media said on Thursday it had filed proceedings in the High Court to resolve a dispute with rival BSkyB over the withdrawal of its basic channels from Virgin's TV service.

BSkyB took its basic channels, including hit shows such as "Lost" and "24," off the cable network after the two groups failed to agree a new deal in March.

"The proceedings also seek a remedy for the onerous rates imposed by Sky for carriage of Virgin Media TV channels on Sky's own TV service," Virgin media said.

The two groups have been engaged in a spat in recent months over how much satellite operator BSkyB should get for allowing its channels to be shown on the Virgin Media cable system.

BSkyB has denied Virgin's accusation that it wanted nearly double the former price for the basic channels and said it simply wanted a fee that reflected its investment in new programming.

The high-profile dispute is also being examined by media regulator Ofcom, which is looking into the pay-TV industry after BSkyB's rivals accused it of trying to suppress competition.

Virgin Media, Britain's only major cable system, has more than 3.3 million TV customers compared to BSkyB's 8.4 million.

BSkyB has said it will defend itself vigorously in court.