Sky promises its broadband will reach 90pc of Brits

Sky plans to bring its fibre broadband packages to UK customers from April, while also extending the reach of its copper network to 9 in 10 households in the UK

Sky has revealed its copper-based broadband services will be available to nearly 90 percent of UK residents by the end of next year, while its first fibre-based offerings will debut in April this year.

The company said on Tuesday it will extend the footprint of its copper broadband network to 88 percent of the UK — up from 82 percent at the moment — by the end of 2013, adding nearly 1.5 million homes.

From April, Sky will also introduce its first fibre services with download speeds of up to 40Mbps. The fibre connections will come without usage caps and will cost £20 per month, the company said.

"Using BT's infrastructure, our fibre product will initially be available to just under 30 percent of UK households, with coverage set to grow over time," Sky said in its most recent quarterly earnings report. "With this new addition to our product portfolio, we will provide customers with even more choice in home communications and, at the same time, make an attractive on-going return for our business."

Competing fibre-based services such as BT's Infinity packages already offer up to 40Mbps connections, with the promise that they are set to "roughly double" during 2012, peaking at 300Mbps in some areas before the end of the year. Other providers, like Virgin, already offer up to 100Mbps connections, with the cap set to rise to 120Mbps during 2012.

Sky also said it would be launching a free Wi-Fi hotspot service for customers signed up to its Broadband Unlimited packages, providing access to "more than 10,000" Wi-Fi hotspots in retail locations such as Caffe Nero, Pizza Express and Wagamama.

The free Wi-Fi service will be powered by The Cloud's hotspot network, which BSkyB bought in January 2011 in a deal reportedly worth less than £50m.

As well as detailing its broadband plans for the coming year, Sky also announced a new online streaming platform for people who do not currently subscribe to its TV packages.

The service will allow users to choose between one-off on-demand access to movies or shows; alternatively people can sign up on a monthly rolling contract for unlimited access. As well as launching on desktops and laptops, Sky's service will also be available from a range of other devices, such as smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and internet-connected TVs.

The company has not revealed pricing details for the service, but says it will be "launching in the first half of 2012".


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