U.K. DBS operator Sky ups the broadband ante

4 09 2007

Like most developed countries, broadband access has been reduced to mere commodity, with price-slashing to the point of £0 making others wonder if there’s any margin left in the business at all (note the proponents of such moves are also the ones bleating loudest about how content providers should reimburse them for the heaviest levels of video-rich traffic).

Now first news has emerged that Murdoch-controlled U.K. satellite platform Sky — which already provides bundled high-speed access to its own customers — is to compete head on in the wider access market.

But the move belies a broader intent on Sky’s part: unattributed sources suggest it is focusing on a major ramp-up of its online TV offer. So on 4 Sep 2007 we see the first moves towards capturing a TV market which may not use the traditional TV set as its focal point. Watch this space.

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When is fast broadband not so fast?

2 08 2007

U.K. consumer magazine Which? expresses shock and awe at the revelation that consumer broadband speeds may not be as fast as they purport to be. Welcome to the internet business.

The Which research reported on suggests, horror of horrors, that consumers might be getting swizzed by ruthless ISPs which advertise certain connection speeds, but then deliver something less.

Now that online access is reduced to mere commodity, isn’t it about time we all wised-up on the fact that:

  1. The U.K. internet backbone remains somewhat wanting (BT’s 21st Century Network has yet to deliver)
  2. ISPs, irrespective of geography, turn the tap up and down to manage demand on their networks
  3. Some ISPs are better at doing it, others aren’t

As a point of interest, the survey revealed that larger ISPs were the worst offenders [related, perhaps to the size of their customer base?], whilst smaller ones delivered greater satisfaction from those polled.

The quoted Which? editor does speak some logic when it comes to calling on ISPs to be more transparent about the practices employed. How long is it, I can’t help wondering, ’til we have a Which? report on BBC iPlayer’s lack of support for Mac and Linux operating systems?