Sky to announce takeover of EasyNet
Rumours of Sky making a move into the UK broadband market place are not new, but the Telegraph newspaper has what seems to be fairly certain news on the subject.
It appears that British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) are going to announce a takeover of EasyNet, with a price tag of up to £150 million involved. It appears this takeover is aimed at allowing Sky to move into the 'triple play' market, where pay-TV, broadband internet and telephone services are all bundled together by one company. Certainly hardware manufacturers and other companies with an interest in this happening, have been pushing triple at trade shows around the world for some years. Companies like HomeChoice have been offering TV over broadband in the UK since around 2000, though with limited availability.
EasyNet were originally well known for their business standard unbundled services, but the last 12 months has seen the growth of UK Online into the 8Mbps and 24Mbps ADSL2+ arena. The most crucial part in the UK broadband picture has been the LLUStream product from EasyNet, that allows providers without the large teleco infrastructure to offer a LLU based service. The last few months has seen a rush of providers to exploit the cost savings and exciting product options available compared to the standard BT Wholesale fayre. Where an acquisition by Sky will leave this product is at this time a little unclear. Though it appears EasyNet are not the only target, HomeChoice and Pipex are also mentioned as possible future targets.
One interesting aspect is that the next generation of the Sky Plus box will feature broadband connectivity - though if Sky were to tie this into you having to take a Sky/Easynet DSL service it may not prove too popular. Hopefully any developments of the Sky Plus service will be broadband provider agnostic.
One certainty is that if Sky does move seriously into the residential broadband marketplace, their marketing is going to ensure some very stiff competition.