'

Sky giving away digital TV with Net access

Forget the Bun, forget AOL... Sky is going for the Net with an offer it says you can't resist

Thinking about going online with a free service? Thinking of Freeserve, X-Stream, or maybe waiting for AOL's new 0800 deal? Well think again. BSkyB's latest push to have a digital dish in every home is going live on June 1 and the online package could be the best yet for UK Net users:

What you get

  • For a one-off installation payment of £40, you get a free digital satellite dish and receiver worth around £200.

  • Free Net access -- 'SkyNow'

  • 40% off standard BT telephone calls

  • Existing digital subscribers will have their subscription rates frozen until 2001.

Sky is unashamedly shoving its Skydigital service as hard as it can and makes no apologies to the gang of free ISPs entering the market: "We obviously want a digital box in every UK home" said a Sky spokeswoman. She added: "Who can resist this offer?"

Indeed Sky believes the lure of crystal clear, interactive TV will be enough to push its digital subscriber base past its goal of 1 million users and secure its position as the leading digital TV provider in the UK, ahead of rival On Digital. It could also see the satellite broadcasting company establish itself as one of the UK's leading ISPs.

Sky's move has been hailed as "very clever" by UK analyst Inteco, but Mike Welch, a senior consultant there does not believe the package will suit everyone: "We (Inteco) have said for years that the digital cable companies were always in a better position (to provide Net access) than the other players -- the infrastructure is now there. But research has shown that people have an aversion to having a satellite dish on their homes."

Mark Booth, chief executive of BskyB said in a prepared release: "Our new consumer proposition will transform the company and the entire industry. It gives customers free access to digital television, a free ISP and massively discounted telephony. It removes all the barriers to entry for customers."

BSkyB's share price rose 23.5p to 565p on the news.