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Freesat mulls offering pay-TV services

Users of free satellite service would be able to subscribe to Sky Sports under plan.

Freesat, the free satellite service set up by the BBC and ITV to aid in digital switchover alongside Freeview, is contemplating expanding into pay television.

The move would allow Freesat users to subscribe to Sky Sports 1 and 2. It has emerged that the company's board is keen on capitalising on the reduction in wholesale prices forced on BSkyB by Ofcom.

Emma Scott, managing director and co-founder of Freesat, said that discussions on moving into pay-TV have been going on but no final decision has been taken yet. She added that Freesat would allow customers to subscribe for unbundled packages as many would not be interested in subscribing to full pay-TV packages.

However, the move would require the BBC Trust's approval.

If this materialises, Freesat would handle the operations, while a third party would handle the pay-TV sales.

Freesat, which offers more than 150 channels, high definition and access to the BBC iPlayer, currently has 1.25 million customers and expects the number to reach 2 million by the end of the switchover in 2012.