Australia's Federal Court has dismissed appeals from telecommunications giant Telstra and pay-TV provider Foxtel against a decision to give Seven Network access to Telstra's broadband cable network.
Seven was first granted access earlier this year (Screendaily, March 29) and now looks to have secured it, providing the aggrieved parties don't take their case to the High Court. Seven is intent on gaining access because it owns rights to the Australian Football League and the Sydney Olympic Games and wants to secure wider distribution for its C7 sports channels. The channels are currently carried on Foxtel rivals Optus TV and Austar.
Foxtel, jointly owned by Telstra, Kerry Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL) and Rupert Murdoch's News Limited, is the only pay-TV service currently using Telstra's network. The ruling is a blow for PBL and News, but Telstra can look forward to an additional revenue stream. The decision is likely to exacerbate the tensions that regularly flare up between the three partners (Screendaily, June 20).
Seven first requested access to the network three years ago and commentators are suggesting it may apply for damages. Other players are now expected to follow Seven's lead and apply for access.