Sky Just Bought O2 and BE Broadband to Totally Leapfrog Virgin

By Sam Gibbs on at

Sky's just made a massive power-play for the UK's broadband market. Not content with being a middling player, it's just bought both O2 and BE Broadband, propelling it into second place in the UK broadband rankings, with 4.7 million subscribers, and leapfrogging Virgin Media.

The move, which cost Sky a total of £200m to buy the ISPs from parent company Telefónica, puts it 200,000 users ahead of Virgin, but 1.9m behind the UK's largest ISP, BT, which holds 6.6 million households in its vice-like grasp.

The move from Sky is obvious, expanding its subscriber network, but it seems O2 and Telefónica are looking to streamline their operations. With 4G blasting out into the airwaves soon, this could be a way to sneakily raise some cash for the 4G rollout. Mind you, £200m in cash from Sky pales into insignificance compared to the sums dolled out on Ofcom's 4G-spectrum auction.

Judging by the yearly broadband satisfaction rankings, existing O2 and BE customers being forced to switch to a Sky backend shouldn't see much difference in service. It's not like you just got bought by TalkTalk or something. [Sky]

Image credit: Broadband from Shutterstock