BSkyB is reported to be considering plans to buy a broadband company so that it can go head-to-head with BT and NTL/Telewest in offering the delivery pipe through which revenue generating content is expected to flow in the near future. The scale of investment BSkyB is prepared to make is thought to be in the region of up to £1 billion.
The Rupert Murdoch-owned satellite broadcaster is also reported in the national press to be prepared to invest up to £200m in local loop unbundling in a bid to provide phone and broadband services direct to end users.
Should BSkyB go ahead with its broadband and fixed-line telephony plans it would enable the satellite operator to offer users the all-important, and till now much hyped, “triple play” of phone, TV and broadband services.
Now that NTL and Telewest have agreed to merge, the enlarged group – with access to half of the UK’s homes – would pose a serious threat to BSkyB’s position. Likewise, BT is also pressing ahead with its plans to offer TV over broadband with a commercial service expected to be launched within the next 12 months.
Speculation as to the target company BSkyB are looking at include, Pipex, EasyNet and LLU TV provider HomeChoice.