Sky Broadband customers to get Cloud Wi-Fi access

Sky Broadband customers look set to enjoy Wi-Fi hotspot access when out in town thanks to the company’s purchase of The Cloud.

The move was confirmed by the Network Implementation Director for Sky Network Services, Trevor Legg, when he spoke to Pocket-lint about plans to expand the recently acquired wireless infrastructure at headquarters in London.

“Our plans are very much to extend the current footprint of The Cloud,” he outlined when asked about moving hotspot access beyond the functional realm of the odd five minutes in a cafe.

“Train termini are a key area for us. Airports are more difficult with respect to their own systems and current tenure from other providers but it’s somewhere we’d like to be. Wi-Fi hotpots are going to be an enhancement of our Sky broadband offering.”

Whether or not customers on all the package will receive hotspot time bundled in or not is unclear at the moment but, with Legg very much comparing Sky’s service to BT, it would seem likely, especially with “value” listed by Sky as the top priority for customers in the UK when choosing an ISP.

Sky Broadband currently supplies 3.4 million customers in the UK with its internet service but has the simple aspiration of becoming the UK’s number one ISP - something which it’s backed with over 1 billion pounds of investment to date including a just announced upgrade of its core network to include the country’s first ever 100 Gigabit per second technology which would ultimately allow 4.6 million people to stream HD video simultaneously.

All the same, despite the Digital Britain report's ideas of reaching remote rural areas of the UK with broadband over satellite, this is definitely not something that Sky has plans to do.

"It tends to be very expensive and there's problems with the uplink from the user to the network," explained Legg.

"There's roughly a 0.6 second latency which is a big issue and would make gaming impossible. I don't think it's mass market for us. We'd more use more radio spectrum to get to rural areas if more spectrum becomes available."

But, while new, more distant customers might be far off, Sky's claims of more than twice the number of public hotspots than BT will certainly be a welcome addition to its current crop of users.

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