Today, BSkyB have announced that they are to purchase the home broadband and home phone services of O2 and BE Broadband who are owned by the Spanish multinational Telefonica, for a consideration of £180 million. The move, which will boost Sky’s numbers by approximately half a million, will make Sky Broadband into the country’s second largest broadband ISP after BT, nudging out Virgin Media in to third place. The deal is due to complete by the end of April, subject to regulatory approval.
Here are the Top 6 UK ISP’s and the current amount of subscribers
- BT Retail 6,569,000
- Virgin Media 4,465,000
- Sky Broadband 4,235,000
- TalkTalk 4,053,000
- EE 693,000
- O2 560,100 (includes BE )
Initially, BSkyB will pay Telefonica £180 million with a further £20 million upon completion of user migration. Telefonica have stated that the move will allow them to concentrate on their 4G services with an aim to give their customers a much better service.
Sky has been the UK’s fastest growing broadband and telephony service since it first started in 2006, and with the increased user migration from the O2 and BE customers, their numbers will expand to 4,750,00 subscribers. However, if you are a BE Broadband subscriber and have checked out the forums to see what the users think of this move, then you see that it is being met with a very frosty and understandable reception.
The majority of BE Broadband subscribers are generally more tech savvy in what they want from a broadband service, and more importantly, what they don’t want. The technical support that is given to BE users is in my opinion the best out there, when compared to the numerous services I have been with in the past. The other main reason that I and other users chose BE was for the advanced options that customers are given, including the use of up to 14 Static IP addresses, faster upload speeds (1.9Mbps upload) and bonded lines. There is no information yet as to whether or not Sky will maintain the advanced options that BE customers currently enjoy, which go a long way beyond Sky’s offerings and is something that is most BE members would like to know.
Once the acquisition has been approved, which it will be, BE users shouldn’t notice any difference with their connections in the immediate future. The migration process may take approximately 18 months to complete and will be done in managed phases.
How do I feel as a long time customer of BE Broadband? Concerned to be honest. I have always loved how BE ran things as well as the tech support which, although I have only used it a couple of times, was fast and the personal on the other end of the line was a network specialist as are all their staff. One of my biggest hates about Sky Broadband is the fact that when you get through to support the first person that you will speak to is in First-line support and generally have no idea as to how to go about fixing the issue (or a decent understanding of network topology) without having to read answers from a sheet/ screen prompt. With BE you got Third-line (best) support and any issues were dealt with fast. That and the real possibility of losing the other distinct advantages of being with BE over a bigger, less friendly ISP are something that will concern some of the older BE members. I know that Sky maybe cheaper, but money was never the issue. It was the service and line-speed that took priority for me, and with past dealings with Sky tech support in the past, it’s not something I look forward to.
Here’s the F & Q for current BE Broadband users regarding what will happen in the foreseeable future:
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Nothing will change right away and you’ll continue to get exactly the same broadband and landline service (if you have it) as you do now. You don’t need to do a thing.
WHEN WILL MY BROADBAND AND LANDLINE BE MOVED TO SKY?
We expect the deal to be finalised soon, subject to Regulatory Approval and certain other conditions. We will then be moving your broadband and (if you have BE Landline) your landline to Sky, but this won’t happen until later this year.
You’ll get plenty of notice when it is time for your service to be switched over.
IF I NEED HELP, WHO DO I ASK? YOU OR SKY?
You should continue to contact BE in the same way you do now. Call us, raise a ticket through the Member Centre or talk to us via live chat.
WHAT WILL MOVING MY SERVICE TO SKY INVOLVE?
Before moving your service, Sky will write to you with all the details about the transfer to their network. We’ll work closely with Sky to make sure everything goes smoothly.
MY LANDLINE IS WITH BE. DOES THIS AFFECT ME?
Yes. Both your landline and broadband services will move to Sky at the same time. You’ll be able to keep the same number.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO GET FROM SKY?
Sky focuses on offering totally unlimited broadband including unlimited fibre services. All of which you can enjoy with or without Sky TV. Sky will be in touch with more details on what’s available to you before your service moves over.
SKY OFFERS FIBRE OPTIC BROADBAND. CAN I GET THAT?
Sky offers unlimited fibre packages to customers who live inside a Sky Fibre network area.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER CHANGES SUCH AS MY BILL?
Nothing will change right away and you’ll continue to get exactly the same broadband and landline service you do now. You can continue to manage your bill through the Member Centre.
WILL I NEED TO GET A NEW ROUTER?
No. You’ll be able to keep using your BE Box (though many of you choose to use an alternative model of router anyway).
WHAT IF I MOVE HOUSE BEFORE YOU MOVE MY SERVICE TO SKY?
You should let us know if you’re moving home. Contact us on 0808 101 3430 or raise a ticket through the Member Centre and we’ll be able to help you.
I HAVE A SKY TV SUBSCRIPTION. IS THIS AFFECTED?
This transaction does not relate to Sky’s TV service. Your TV subscription with Sky will continue to be managed by Sky under your agreement with them. If you have any questions about your Sky TV service please go to www.sky.com/mysky.
For now, you’ll continue to receive news about your TV services from Sky, and any news about your broadband and landline services from BE.