The UK’s telecoms regulator has launched an investigation into the pricing of the internet and TV services offered by providers including Virgin Media and TalkTalk.
Spectrum has been the target of widespread criticism over its decision to stop providing new Spectrum-branded TV channels to customers and have instead rebranded and increased prices.
Under the new rules, consumers will only be able to watch Spectrum channels from 2 December.
Virgin Media’s channel will be available on the internet for seven days, while TalkTalk’s channels will be only available on Spectrum-licensed devices, including smartphones and tablets.
“We are working with our regulators to identify how Spectrum prices are contributing to consumer confusion,” said Virgin Media boss John Legere.
“This is an issue we have identified and we will be looking at the issues raised in the forthcoming regulator’s report to find solutions.”
The regulator is calling for Virgin Media to make a commitment to bring back the Spectrum channels, but has warned that the move is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
The issue was highlighted earlier this year when TalkTalk announced it was rebranding its Spectrum TV channels and charging customers more for them.
At the time, TalkTalk claimed the new channel was a “significant cost” to the company, and it added that it was the first time it had rebranded its channels.
But a study by the consumer watchdog Which?
found that Spectrum TV shows were not being available on many Spectrum-based devices in the UK.
It found that only 1% of Spectrum-compatible devices had Spectrum TV packages, and more than 20% of such devices had not been activated in more than one month.
In a statement, the regulator said that the introduction of Spectrum channels had been in the works since the last regulator’s review in December.
“We are committed to supporting Spectrum and will continue to monitor developments to ensure that Spectrum is available to all customers,” it said.
“Spectrum is an important part of the UK’s digital infrastructure, and is an essential component of our broadband network.”