Sky broadband has been available for many years now, but it's always been at the mercy of BT for the 'last mile' -- the connection between your house, the exchange and the ISP. Now it's looking to connect direct to your house.
The only other direct-to-house provider in the UK is Virgin with its cable network. Sky is looking at two routes of internet delivery to its punters. The first is the traditional cable to your premises, which would involve significant work to effectively replicate BT's 5,000 or so exchanges, which connect punters to the backbone network. That's no small feat, and would require a significant amount of money and digging up a lot of roads to connect all the links in the network together.
The other route under consideration is the use of a beefed up Wi-Fi hotspot service, namely The Cloud. This route would again require significant investment into the Wi-Fi service, but would be considerably less complicated than setting up Sky's own cabled network.
The benefit to Sky of either of these routes would be an end-to-end Sky-only network that it would control. That means that if something were to break, it's not at the mercy of BT's engineers or anything else outside its control within its network. It would also mean you wouldn't have to pay BT line rental for your phone line even though you use everything else that's Sky.
According to Electricpig, both ideas are currently being tested. Sky already has the server infrastructure in place to both service its ISP customers and its video on-demand services; but connecting that last mile to each customer is going to be very costly. Whether we'll see Sky moving on this soon is unknown. Which ever way you look at it, if they do go ahead with it, it'll probably increase the cost of your Sky service in the short-term. The money to cover the infrastructure investment has to come from somewhere after all. It'd be nice to have another end-to-end competitor to BT and Virgin in the UK, so I'm all for it, even if I'm unlikely to use the service. [Electricpig]
Image credit: Network servers from Shutterstock