BT is to stop delivering its sports channels via aerial to some users of its legacy Vision+ boxes and migrate affected customers to a broadband delivered version of the channels. But the firm says those with slow broadband will continue to receive them via aerial.
The ISP currently offers the channels to new customers via broadband, either to a smartphone and tablet app or to one of its BT TV set top boxes, or via a Sky box.
However when they first launched, the channels were also available to Vision+ box users via an encrypted digital terrestrial channel which could be descrambled with a supplied viewing card.
BT used this solution to extend the channels’ reach beyond its Infinity fibre network which at the time was the only broadband type which could deliver a reliable viewing experience.
It also descrambled the channels both on their launch night and on a number of subsequent occasions offered ‘free weekends’ aimed at promoting the service to potential subscribers.
The aerial option was withdrawn for new TV subscribers in January 2014 and in May the ISP announced the channels were now available via standard ADSL (copper line) broadband for homes which can’t get Infinity.
That announcement sparked speculation about the future of the aerial versions which are understood to cost the firm millions per year to supply to a small subset of its 1m-plus TV customer base.
Posts on a number of TV related forums claim BT has recently written to customers receiving the channels via their aerials advising that they’ll be withdrawn from October 20th.
According to the posts, affected customers will be moved to the broadband streamed version instead.
A BT Spokesperson told SEENIT: “We have written to customers with a fast enough line speed on traditional copper broadband about an exciting new development that launched in May.
“We are now able to deliver BT Sport live over copper lines with a speed above 5 Mbps for the first time. Customers just need to make sure their BT Vision + set top box has a direct ethernet connection to their BT Home Hub.
“These customers will also be offered either free Broadband Extenders or a free 10m Ethernet cable if their set top box is not already connected to their hub. Customers can take the new option immediately or BT will automatically upgrade these customers to the new service later this year.
“These customers will also benefit from free ESPN on their TV, previously only available to them via the BT Sport App or at btsport.com.
“Customers in non-fibre areas who have a line speed slower than 5Mbps will continue to be able to watch BT Sport via the aerial.”