EDS will today argue in court that BSkyB did not know what it wanted from the £48m contract they signed in July 2000, in response to the broadcaster’s claims that it put forward a dishonest sales pitch for the deal.

In its opening statements as defendant in the £709m case, EDS plans to say that BSkyB only had a “preliminary specification” for what it wanted from the customer care centre that was to be built under the deal, even at the date of signing the contract.

The specifications became more complex as details emerged, EDS will say. It will argue that the broadcaster nevertheless attempted to force down the cost.

The system integrator will also claim that BSkyB took six years to complete the project instead of a planned 12 months, resulting in the bill running to over £265m. BSkyB took over five months to choose the system integrator over rival bidder PricewaterhouseCoopers, EDS will say, and then it took another four months to conclude the contract.

In 2001, there were attempts between the two parties to renegotiate the project. In early 2002, EDS handed over the main system integrator role to BSkyB, leaving the project the following year.

Last week, in opening arguments at London’s technology and construction court in Holborn, a barrister for BSkyB said EDS had made a “dishonest” sales pitch for the contract, and that the firm had been overstated the resources it had available in an attempt to secure the deal. EDS said it would “vigorously defend its position” in the case.

The terms of the contract are understood to have included a limited liability of £30m. However, this provision did not cover claims of misrepresentation and BSkyB has been able to claim well above that figure.

It is understood that EDS will not only dispute the case itself but challenge the disparity between the value of the contract, £48m, and the £709m sum it is being sued for.

EDS’ opening statements are expected to run for much of this week, before witnesses are called.