Sky appears to be the bundle provider to rule them all with its broadband service adding 212,000 customers in the last quarter, taking the provider to a total of 3,863,000 broadband customers. The average number of products per customer is 2.6, which with the requirement for customers to take Sky line rental to get the broadband is no real surprise.
The ratio of fully unbundled to shared LLU customers continues to grow, with 2.4 million on full LLU and 1.2 million on a shared service. The remaining 227,000 customers are on the off-net product, which is provided by BT Wholesale where Sky has no LLU presence. The Sky LLU network continues to grow, adding 57 exchanges in the quarter, a total of 1,964 exchanges (covering 83% of UK homes).
"Better experience: thanks to a start-of-the-art all fibre-core network. Sky is the only ISP to guarantee not to manage the speeds of any customer on its network. Sky's totally unlimited service is free from the fair use policies that other broadband providers use to slow speeds down at peak times to alleviate contention in their networks."Extract from Sky Press Release
This stance with regards to unlimited was at one time the norm for UK broadband services, and over the years as usage levels increased and signup rates decreased many providers hit a point where less extra capacity is added, and natural contention kicks in. Sky has seen this natural contention affecting exchanges, though to date has always upgraded capacity. The fact that the Sky group has seen profits increase by 15% in the last year to £908m suggests that the combination of bundling they have will allow for many more upgrades to their network to cope with growing usage. The great unknown now is how popular will the £20 and £30 fibre products be with consumers who are looking for extra speed, so that a household can watch Sky Go on a laptop, while downloading a box-set via Sky AnyTime+ and also playing the latest blockbuster game online. Providing an 80/20 fibre product that meets the usage and speed expectations of Sky customers will not be an easy task.