Sky has made a number of announcements regarding its broadband coverage in the latest set of the company’s financial results.
First off, the firm intends to increase its copper-based broadband network to cover 88% of the UK by the end of 2013. It currently covers 82% of the country.
Sky is also planning to launch a free wi-fi service for Sky Broadband Unlimited customers in April.
This will feature some 10,000 hot-spots throughout the UK, powered by The Cloud in a large number of retail locations across the country, and giving Sky users web access on the go.
The company already has the Sky Go app which it has just announced is being extended to Android devices, albeit just the major HTC and Samsung phones for now.
But the biggest news is that Sky intends to roll out its own fibre broadband service, going up against BT and Virgin who are currently deploying their next-gen super-fast networks.
Indeed Sky will be using the BT fibre network for its roll-out, beginning this April, with the initial target being to reach 30% of UK households (further coverage being added over time in line with BT’s expansion).
It will cost £20 per month and offer download speeds of up to 40Mbps, with Sky claiming no usage caps will be imposed on the unlimited service. Traffic management and throttling for heavy users will almost certainly come into play at some level, though, as ever.
The initial speed of 40Mbps is going to look a little underpowered come April, however, as that’s when BT intends to begin doubling up its fibre-to-the-cabinet speeds to 80Mbps across the country.
Virgin has just announced free fibre package speed boosts for its customer base to keep pace with BT, as well. Its new selection of broadband plans includes a basic 20Mbps affair, alongside 60Mbps, 100Mbps and a 120Mbps package.
Sky will have to look to compete with these sort of speeds, but more competition in the fibre marketplace will certainly be a good thing, as we’ve seen with Virgin’s boosts in reaction to BT’s FTTC move.