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UPDATE2 ISP O2 UK Claim Home Broadband and Phone Sale to Sky is Done

Posted Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 (12:59 pm) by Mark Jackson (Score 1,554)
o2 uk

Customers of O2 / BE Broadband’s fixed line home broadband and phone service have this week been told that the £180m+ sale to Sky Broadband (BSkyB) “has now gone through” and related subscribers are thus “officially with Sky“. But the actual migration to Sky will not get underway until this Autumn 2013.

O2’s newsletter doesn’t offer much in the way of new information and advises customers that Sky will contact them within the next few days to “explain how they’ll be transferring everyone’s broadband service over to their network“. The phased migration is then expected to take around 18 months to complete.

The letter also points to a new page on Sky’s own website (http://www.sky.com/shop/welcome/home/), which covers the O2/BE migration and includes a few small bits of new information. For example, it notes that O2/BE customers who DON’T have a phone line with the operator “won’t have to take these services with Sky” (e.g. if your phone line is still with another operator like BT then that will not be changed).

Sky’s O2/BE Information Page – Network Migration & Terms

Nothing will change for you right away and for now you’ll continue to get exactly the same home broadband and phone service (if you have it) as you do now and we will continue to supply your O2 or BE products under your current Terms & Conditions. We’ll give you at least one month’s notice plus some more reminders nearer to the transfer day and let you know when it’s time for your services to be switched over.”

Officially of course the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is still examining Sky and O2’s deal under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002, which is a regulatory test that’s designed to ensure the deal doesn’t result in a “substantial lessening of competition“.

The OFT expects to announce its decision around 16th May 2013, although few expect them to rule against the deal as it does not appear to threaten competition in the wider market for home broadband and phone services. In addition the completion of Sky’s transaction is not dependent upon having OFT approval.

In the meantime readers can find more details about the specifics of O2’s sale to Sky in our original March 2013 news article (here). Crucially it remains to be seen how Sky will choose to handle the migration of BE and O2’s more advanced packages (e.g. line bonding), which often included features such as Static IP address blocks and faster upload speeds that aren’t currently available via Sky’s default Unlimited service.

As a final note O2 has today officially pulled its Home Broadband product pages, although there’s been no change at BE Broadband.

UPDATE 2nd May 2013

It’s worth pointing out that Sky’s FAQ page now also mentions the issue of special “technical features“, such as static IP addresses, although it’s still pretty vague.

We have asked Sky to clarify its position twice but they keep directing us to the non-committal FAQ, which states, “We’re aware of the importance BE customers place on some of the technical features of their service and we’re actively investigating what we can do in that space – particularly around things like static IP, customised line profiles targeted at gamers etc.

Sky has already invested in superfast fibre broadband services and truly unlimited packages on both DSL and Fibre, now we’re looking at investment in additional features we’ll also be engaging with BE members to get your views, and keep you updated with our progress in this space.”

UPDATE 11th May 2013

BE Broadband has advised their customers that they won’t have to send their routers back when the migration happens. Sky Broadband have also suggested that they’re “working hard” to develop support for third party routers, which would allow BE customers to keep on using them. But as before there’s no concrete confirmation.. yet.

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19 Responses
  1. Steve

    Thank god I’ve made the steps to leave after 7 long years… so long BE. It’s been great while it lasted.

  2. Jonny

    I’ve been with Be the same amount of time and just do not know where to go next. I hate Sky and everything it stands for so will have to go somewhere soon I guess.

  3. Max

    I just gave notice to BE after being with them for over five years due to them being sold to Sky.

    I refuse to do business with any of Rupert Murdoch’s companies.

  4. Geoff

    Murdoch disgusts me too. Six relatively happy years with o2 will soon be coming to an end. Is it time for an upgrade to fibre?

  5. Paul

    I have had BeThere for several years and am about to move. The only comparable option I’ve found is Xilo – their Elite package is on the same O2 LLU wholesale network (£15), which is not part of the Sky sale. Otherwise, it has to be either Xilo Fibre (£35 monthly for 125 GB) or Plusnet Fibre (£20 unlimited) – the difference seems to be the Xilo low latency routing (try a speed test to xilos servers in Maidenhead). But Plusnet seems not bad either, although some increase at peak times I think, like the Entanet resellers.
    For privacy concerns, smaller ISPs may also be lower risk because BT/PlusNet, Sky and the big ISP’s are all either part of the big media copyright-cartel and/or recipients of big government jackboot-snoopers “pilot” funding. In the case of BT, that’s on top of massive uncontested government contracts, on top of an existing ducting monopoly.

    • cyclope

      @Paul; The peak time latency issue you describe could well be down to BT and not the ISP’s, if that is the case then so matter which isp you choose, you would still see the problem to some degree, as with the exception of sky and talktalk all the others are using backhaul from BT

  6. cyclope

    From info on the Be web site regarding this, they would appear to have already stopped taking new orders for line bonding,They say that customers wont be required to change their Telephone provider to sky, that will most probably be for an interim period of time only, As sky will without doubt wish to migrate O2/BE retail customers on to their full LLU SBVN network where ever possible, There maybe a small percentage that end up being migrated onto the older easynet LLU kit that is only SMPF (same as o2/be dsl only)
    The 02 wholesale side of things could go 2 ways they may choose to provide the service via the Easynet LLU kit, or connect the Telefonica llu kit to the sky core network the later would ensure that the products could stay as is, where as migration on to the easynet kit may not in particular Annex M upto 2.5mbps upstream sync may not be possible on the easynet LLU kit without modification, which they may not wish to do, as there may not be a long term future for the 02 wholesale products as sky will probably want to kill it off

  7. Rich

    Might as well wait for all the details to come out.
    Its an unlimited service (the unlimited package) with no traffic management and the only things blocked are by court order.

    Come to think of it, it increases your wifi coverage if you still have O2 mobile wifi access and The Cloud wifi coverage through Sky broadband so I’m certainly looking forward to that!

  8. Ed

    I also refuse to give the despicable Murdoch my money (hey, maybe he’s just misunderstood, right? Yeah right…) I’ve been sold-out twice whilst originally having THE best deal/ISPs on the market. A real shame!

    Once it was Telewest to Virgin who soon over-sold and over-contended the whole street whilst STILL aggressively marketing their product. Which is illegal under statutory law – selling a product that you can’t provide, and they refused to tell the truth about this over-capacity network; wasting my precious time troubleshooting elsewhere whilst patronising me that it wasn’t their network at fault – and refusing to have a 24/7 fault-reporting line, refusing to make a fault official until 7 people had reported it (there’s probably not 7 people qualified to accurately diagnose it living on my street even though it’s so densely-populated).

    Now O2 to Sky!

    Oh well, I had a nice break from ISP bullsh** with O2 (100% unlimited, 100% working ADSL, 24/7 FREEphone number and KNOWLEDGEABLE staff who I didn’t have to talk-down to, very impressive after Virgin!) All good things come to an end.

    Now I’m looking at the current ISP / LLU list and WTF is Ofcom playing at – there’s three semi-monopolies to choose from, and none of them ethical!

    Nice one toothless regulators and ‘crapitalism’, that lofty competition ethic is working really well for us consumers, isn’t it?

    People really should stand-up for themselves in this country, and I don’t mean paying lawyers more, I mean picketing Ofcom and BT, Sky, Virgin’s offices until they start to take customer concerns seriously. That’s not extremism, that’s justice.

  9. Ed

    Paul, I just rang Xilo on their 0800 Sales number and had a rude automated message telling me ‘our sales team are extremely busy right now, instead of making you wait we recommend you try our website’. I’d already tried their website which couldn’t answer my specific query in detail.
    I rang the NON-0800 number and it got picked up within a couple of seconds.

    I had to lecture the poor guy about the English language definition of ‘can’t’ vs. ‘won’t’ and the dishonesty that is rife on that subject in today’s business world. Not a good way to start a business relationship, is it? Being lied to by the automated system, I mean…
    Their products seem on-the-level, but I’m really put-off by the penny-pinching 0800 issue – I’m trying to give them my business, including spending over 3x more pcm on my broadband than I was with O2 – not have a chat because I’m bored and their number is free… Jokers.

    • Ed

      To clarify, the message was rude, because it then auto-hung-up on me, repeatedly on re-dialling, and obviously it was lying about how busy the sales team were. What idiot thought to look good offering a freephone number then look worse than if they didn’t offer one by wasting potential customers’ time?! I have to smile…

  10. cyclope

    At least you got an answer, There are some complaining that they are getting a engaged tone each time they call,so by the sounds of it you did a little better,lol

  11. Jonny

    I was thinking Xilo after looking on the website. They are small, but price for un-metered seems ok. I’m years away from fibre because of a placement issue so can only have a 2-4Mbit service. I really do not want to go with sky and am not convinced plusnet can sustain it’s rapid growth. Xilo seems good with the options offered and warrants more research. I too go the busy automated reply.

    I am more concerned with the £40 migration charge, and or being given a router. I could not find much more info on the website.

    Does anyone know anything bad about Xilo? and or anything good to report about Xilo?

  12. Omar

    Macace seems like a good alternative, £30pm for unlimted fibre (40Mbps) + £15 line rental. Seem to have won a few awards and promise some 100% uptime guarantee. Anyone had any experience with them?

  13. Simon

    Personally I am quite excited to see what Sky can do now. Over the last five years they have extracted the heart of the Easynet Network, brought in the Cloud to give a huge Wifi Footprint and now have acquired a huge LLU network that has been built incredibly well and has huge capacity. Couple this with Sky’s existing entertainment services they could have the full package. I am not necessarily a Sky advocate but they are a force to be reckoned with if they can pull these assets together.

  14. Jonny

    Not while there’s blood in my veins.

  15. Robert

    LMAO at the people with their “refuse to do business with sky” “refuse to give Murdoch my money” and similar ill thought out dross.

    You idiots that have been paying O2 for years for your broadband have had a percentage of your money spent on nice mobile phone adverts in Mr Murdochs Newspapers and on various Sky TV channels.

    He has already had a chunk of your money… Halfwits!

    BE and O2 are brain dead companies so it makes sense some of their customers are also. Personally i think its great they are both going the way of the dodo, gets rid of O2 who once offered unlimited, then didn’t, then did, then didn’t again (at one point they did not even know the difference between a Mb and MB when talking usage limits).

    Oh and BE the company with a small hardcore userbase of rude cretins who hate it when anyone bashes their frankly rubbish, congested network which it has nearly always been. Run by a bunch of big mouthed bullies with a billing system that even overcharges when you leave, pure crap.

    Good riddance to over hyped, useless rubbish i say.

  16. Jonny

    Well Xilo do not offer a free router, one at cost and the same one I have now with Be. So saving for a nice latest Linksys seems on the cards. The Xilo Elite package seems best for me LLU O2W. Phone, well that for now can stay basic/line rental with BT. Any thoughts anyone on Xilo?

  17. Martin Booth

    I joined O2 broadband about 2 years ago. Until this stupidity with selling it to sky, my broadband averaged 5-6 mbits. With about .5mbit upload. During the entire period, it never failed. Never disconnected. Admittedly, it wasn’t as good as the BT BB i had before, but it was nearly half the price.

    Now.. In the last 2-3 weeks, my broadband disconnects at peak times (6pm-1am) on avg 2-3 times every hour. (I can record this by keeping steam chat open with timestamps) Every single day.

    Added to this, the account was setup in my name, with my password and details with my wife’s bank account for dd, after the merger, they changed the account to her name, called her up and got her to add a password (which she can never remember) and now refuse point blank to talk to me at all.

    I used to work for Sky’s BB Tech about 5 yrs ago. I can say with absolute certainty that their service hasn’t improved in all that time.

    They purposefully overload their pipes with nearly 3x the max load and this is still what is causing all the problems, adding in all the BE and o2 Customers on top.. I’m not at all surprised at the shoddy service.

    I’ve now cut the dd mandate and am refusing to pay the outstanding bills until the issues are resolved. In the meantime I’m using the money I would have given to o2 to switch to plusnet.

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