Virgin Media files complaint against BBC's 'Project Canvas' with Ofcom

In a bid to stall the launch of BBC's brainchild 'Project Canvas', the video-on-demand and internet service, UK's cable-television and internet provider Virgin Media is has filed a complaint with the country's regulator saying that the new service was anti-competitive.

In its 74-page complaint filed with Ofcom yesterday, Virgin Media has accused BBC and it partners of using their privileged market position and guaranteed public funding to dominate the internet market by restricting consumer choice and stopping others from developing next-generation online TV in the UK.

Virgin Media is not the only one complaining, British Sky Broadcasting Group and others may join in with their own complaints to Ofcom.

Earlier Virgin Media had refused to join BBC and its partners in the project as it did not agree on certain terms.

The multi-million pound Project Canvas, which is being developed by BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5 along with telecom giants BT and TalkTalk, will allow its subscribers to access free-to-view, video-on-demand, HD and internet services, which will be rolled into one platform via a set top box.

The service, which is scheduled to be launched in mid-2011, will give British consumers access to services like BBC iPlayer, NHS Direct, LoveFilm, Hulu, and Amazon. Set-top boxes using Canvas technology, costing between £150 and £300, are expected to be available by the end of next year.