This morning Sky has announced the long awaited plans for its broadband service which is to be free to Sky customers. This can prove particularly attractive to many households who already have a
Sky subscription, and worrying to other ISPs who are not in a position to be able to offer such combined services which is bringing the Internet industry far closer to the electricity/gas
utilities businesses which are selling dual fuel packages across each others' markets.
The Sky deal offers free broadband with a 2 Mbps downstream speed regardless of which TV package you subscribe to (although an activation fee of £40 applies). In addition to this, it will be offering faster services up to 16 Mbps for those who have bigger requirements from just £10 per month. Each customer will receive a free wireless router and a year's use of McAfee Internet Security Suite. Sky is offering professional home installation services (£50 unless you subscribe to the Max up to 16 Mbps package), similar to its satellite installation service to help consumers get connected. Finally, they are also providing Sky Talk which includes anytime UK landline calls for £5 per month (usual catches apply regarding very long calls and non-geographic numbers.)
All the products are available to any existing Sky digital customers covered by the Sky broadband network as well as new customers who can buy a Sky digital subscription from £15 per month, subject to a minimum one year contract.
The Sky network covers 28% of households in cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow although a fast rollout is expected with a 70% target by the end of 2007.
Users should note that the basic free package is limited to 2GB monthly usage. Those wishing to upgrade to the mid-level package will receive an up to 8 Mbps connection and a 40GB usage allowance for £5 a month extra whilst the top end service at £10 per month offers speeds up to 16 Mbps (obviously subject to your location and suitable line conditions) with "unlimited" downloads and installation (subject to fair use policy).
There are also options available for those not within Sky's broadband network directly for a modest fee. You can register for Sky Broadband from noon today, but sales are due to begin in early August. For availability and more information go to www.sky.com.
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