Sky pursues Eir and Virgin with launch of high-speed fibre broadband

Company to spend several hundred million euro rolling out new product across Ireland

Sky new fibre broadband product will allow for broadband speeds of up to one gigabit per second. Photograph: David Jones/PA Wire

Sky new fibre broadband product will allow for broadband speeds of up to one gigabit per second. Photograph: David Jones/PA Wire

 

Sky has signalled a major assault on Ireland’s increasingly competitive broadband market with the introduction of a new superfast fibre product, which it plans to spend several hundred million euro rolling out across the State over the next five years.

The television and broadband provider is currently the fastest-growing broadband provider in the Republic with 185,000 subscribers, placing it fourth in terms of market share behind Eir, Virgin and Vodafone.

However, the company is aiming for a bigger slice of the pie with the launch of its new Sky Fibre 1Gb product, which will allow for broadband speeds of up to one gigabit or 1,000 megabits per second, considered the gold standard internationally.

The company’s new “aggregate product” utilises existing fibre technologies and networks from other suppliers, bundling them into a single package for the consumer, which it claims is 10 times faster than the standard fibre product on the Irish market.

Sky Ireland hopes to reach more than a million homes with the product over the next three to five years and will use the Government’s National Broadband Plan to reach under-served rural communities.

“What we’re launching allows us to tap into whatever the best broadband speed is in any area,” Sky Ireland’s chief financial officer Neal O’Rourke told The Irish Times.

“For us, it’s that ability to aggregate and give customers the best product based on where they are, be it rural, urban or somewhere in between,” he said.

Sky Ireland changed its broadband business model here two years ago, switching from having a single wholesale supplier to being able to aggregate and sell any product that was on the market.

Sky is now Europe’s leading entertainment company, serving 23 million customers across seven countries, including the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. It generated an annual revenue of nearly £13 billion last year. It employs just under 1,000 staff in the Republic with more than 750 based at its Dublin headquarters.

“We live in a world where there is a growing need and expectation for superfast broadband speed and so Sky is delighted to announce we will be offering the highest available speeds in the country to the widest possible footprint,” Sky Ireland’s director of products and marketing Ann-Marie MacKay said.

“ Our reach will continue to grow year on year through our relationship with partners such as [ESB/Vodafone joint venture] Siro and through backing the Government’s National Broadband Plan, which will make superfast broadband a reality for currently under-served communities,” she added.