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UPD Sky to Recreate UK ISP BE Broadband as a Premium Fibre Service

Wednesday, Aug 14th, 2013 (12:21 pm) - Score 2,486

Customers of BE Broadband, which is now owned by BSkyB (Sky Broadband), have been told that Sky intends to “recreate BE on their own network as a premium service“, which will based off their top Fibre Unlimited Pro (76Mbps) FTTC product with a few extras bolted-on top.

Just to recap. Sky gobbled up O2 and BE Broadband’s fixed line home broadband and phone customers earlier this year for around £180 million (here and here). The phased process of migrating 500,000 or so of the related customers over to their network is currently due to get underway shortly and should then last for a year or more.

As it stands most of O2’s Home Broadband subscribers can expect a fairly direct migration but Sky has recognised that BE is “most definitely not a vanilla, one-size-fits-all service” and have thus outlined a separate strategy to accommodate them (it’s unclear whether or not this will also apply to those who joined O2’s similar “The Works” product).

The latest official post on BE’s Member Forum explains roughly what this means for BE’s subscribers. Apparently members can expect to be migrated onto Sky’s Fibre Pro service (where available), will retain their current customer support solution and should still receive a Static IP address (but NOT multiple address blocks).

BEBroadband Update on Sky’s Migration Plan

So what’s the outcome? Well, as far as we’re concerned it’s good news (Yes, you read that correctly). For the router-bridgers, arch gamers and IT pros amongst you (well, that’s who you say you are…), Sky recognise that you value the support provided by our customer service team (“the Bulgarians” as you call them). And that your broadband is most definitely not a vanilla, one-size-fits-all service. It needs to have flexibility to support your own particular requirements. S

o Sky are looking to recreate BE on their own network as a premium service based on their top notch Fibre Unlimited Pro service (80/20 FTTC to the likes of you and me). Their vision includes continuing to support you with “the Bulgarians”, building Single Static IP capability into their network (sorry you multiple-types, but you can’t have everything I’m afraid) and providing you with the sort of customisation you currently enjoy on the BE network. They plan to make this new service exclusively available to Members first.

(Oh, and by the way, there’ll probably be an ADSL version for those of you who continue to live outside the fibre-served areas of the UK).

Sadly the wording doesn’t make completely clear whether or not Sky will continue to support customised line profiles and there’s still no final word on support for third-party routers, although Sky has previously expressed a strong desire to support these. We note from past updates that IPv6 support is also still set for launch during 2014 (dual stack network).

Otherwise we already know that BE’s Line Bonding service is likely to be kicked into the dust and Sky has previously said that “it’s unlikely we’ll also rollout Annex M on our DSL network” (i.e. faster upload speeds for ADSL2+ users).

The latest update closed by saying that Sky were busy working on the “new service“, although it will probably “take some months to get it up and running“. This could suggest that BE’s subscribers might be left until later in the migration process.

The update is also worded in such a way as to suggest that Sky may eventually offer the new “premium” service to its own Sky Broadband customers. Thanks to the BE Usergroup for bringing this to our attention.

UPDATE 15th August 2013

An article on TB notes that BE’s customers will have to take Sky Line Rental if they adopt the premium Sky Fibre Pro service.

However those on BE’s ADSL2+ service with a BTWholesale Line (i.e. on BE’s platform via shared LLU / SMPF) have been told to contact Sky once they receive their transfer notice (these will go out during the network migration process) so that they can remain on that line without being swapped (assuming they don’t want Sky Line Rental).

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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