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BSkyB has announced plans to roll out a broadband service, to be bundled alongside its pay-TV and newly relaunched ‘Sky Talk’ telephone service. Triple play, baby!

Well, we knew it was coming… that much was clear when Sky shelled out more than £200m on the acquisition of Easynet last year. It was simply a question of when it would happen, and what exactly the consumer offering would be, and whether there would be any mobile telephony element introduced (not yet). It certainly positions Sky favourably in the emerging battle for the living room.

Sky will invest a further £400m over the next three years to extend its broadband operations, which are being advertised widely from today. The brand strapline is 'uploads, downloads, save loads'.

The company has jumped on the ‘free broadband’ bandwagon to some degree, despite the recent ticking off handed out to rival Carphone Warehouse from the Advertising Standards Authority. CPW has been advertising ‘free broadband forever’, despite not offering an entirely free service.

Sky’s basic service offers a 2MB connection, with a 2GB-per-month cap. For £10 a month consumers can upgrade to an “awesome” connection of 16MB.

Sky CEO James Murdoch described the move as “a transformational new initiative”. He said: “Sky is ideally equipped to enter the large and growing markets of broadband and telephony and by pushing the boundaries of the home entertainment market, we will help our customers realise the full potential from technological convergence.”

Sky has 8m customers and we reckon it will gain a few more over the coming months, as word spreads. Carphone Warehouse attracted more than 300,000 new subscribers purely as a result of marketing its free broadband deal, so we feel that Sky could feasibly add 400,000-600,000 new broadband customers by the end of the year, given its plans for a multichannel, multimillion pound ad campaign. Sky’s competitors will be suitably concerned.

Advance sales are about to start (at noon today) via the www.sky.com/broadband website, where consumers can check availability and options.

Chris Lake

Published 18 July, 2006 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

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