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Sky Praises Superior Service As It Adds 277,000 Broadband Users

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Sky says the quality of its product and customer service help it stand out as it prepares for new Now TV and Sky Q TV

Sky added 277,000 broadband customers during the past six months, a 53 percent year-on-year increase as the company continues to diversify away from the satellite business it has become synonymous with.

No official figure for total number of broadband users has been disclosed, but it is estimated Sky now has just under six million customers on both fibre and copper.

Sky attributes this success to its superior customer service and the quality of its product, allowing it to stand out in an increasingly competitive UK communications market.

Network expansion

sky q app ui carSky has been a vocal critic of BT’s continued ownership of Openreach and wants Ofcom’s once-in-a-decade review of the sector to separate the two, arguing this will improve service and competition. The company also believes BTs takeover of EE will give its competitor a head start in the development of hybrid infrastructure.

At present, Sky offers television, landline and broadband but has plans to launch a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) using O2’s infrastructure later this year, allowing it to offer ‘quad-play’ packages of all four services, just like rivals BT, TalkTalk and Virgin Media.

It is also moving away from satellite towards over the top (OTT) applications like its Sky Go and NOW TV streaming services, and now claims to have 7.5 million connected homes in the UK and Ireland.

A new Now TV box combining Free to Air (FTA) television and IPTV is planned, while Sky will also launch its next generation broadcasting platform, Sky Q, in 2016 as it seeks to maintain its position as the UK’s dominant Pay TV provider.

Diversification

“We have had another very strong half as we continue to transform Sky, broadening our business and expanding into new markets and customer segments,” said Sky Group CEO Jeremy Darroch. “This strategy is delivering today and opening up significant growth opportunities for the future. We are pursuing those opportunities with energy and purpose.

In total, the company added 227,000 completely new subscribers during the period, bringing to the total customer base to 12.28 million. This contributed to a six percent increase in UK revenue to £4 billion for the six months leading up to 31 December and operating profits of £756 million – a 16 percent rise.

Across the Sky Group, revenues amounted to £5.72 billion and operating profits were £747 million, a 13 percent increase, as falling gains in Italy and a loss in Germany and Austria hampered the success of the UK.

It has also been announced James Murdoch will return to the Group as Chairman, replacing the outgoing Nicholas Ferguson. Murdoch left BskyB four years ago.

“The entire Board offers its warmest thanks to Nick for his leadership as Chairman and the major contribution he has made to Sky over many years,” continued Darroch. “We’re delighted that James Murdoch has agreed to step into the role of Chairman. James’ deep knowledge of the international media industry and his passion for supporting Sky’s ongoing success will make an even greater contribution to our business in the future.”

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