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

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 (12:21 pm) - Score 2,455
be broadband uk isp

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).

Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Avatar Blueacid

    This is certainly looking very promising; Sky for the mass market customers and Be (with the support team in Bulgaria) running off their network but catering for pro users.

  2. Avatar cyclope

    From what i have read, I don’t see anything that is promising , no ANNEX M so that’s a big percentage of pro/business user’s out,I also don’t see sky allowing the Bulgarian support to configure line profiles as they currently do, such as true Fastpath not what sky’s answer is lower interleave delay or depth only ,which will make no real difference for most ,
    The you have their really poor web filtering systems that will block whole domains instead of the url’s to the offending content, which has been this way since they implemented it, So most will need a VPN too They may not shape traffic and offer unlimited but with their filtering set up they don’t need to

  3. Avatar ant

    ‘will retain their current customer support solution’

    For those that enjoy poor call quality (i hear almost 56k VOIP like) based support. The call centre in Bulgaria must work for peanuts for Sky to even bother keeping it. That or the Sky staff in the UK just do not want to deal with complaining BE’ings when they lose their static IPs and similar.

    Oh and you are right cyclope Skys network has a DLM system of sorts so they can forget all about gaming mode/fast path/interleave back and forth switching throughout the month.

    Not that it matters anyone with any sense should had left BE long before even sky announced they would buy them, it appears to be one of the least reliable, most congested providers in the country.

    DO not know why Sky are messing around, the sooner Sky scrap everything that was associated with BE the sooner they can focus on supplying users with a straightforward quality product. Those that want frills can go pay for them elsewhere.

  4. Avatar DTMark

    Not sure that the announcement really says very much. Pro users? Using ADSL? Give over, is that for real?

    I thought the main draws of BE were the Annex ? capabilities that finally got some upload speed from ADSL, even then hardly any, that it was really cheap, and it was targeted at the “would think about AAISP but can’t be arsed to wade through the pages nor pay the prices” brigade.

    In these respects if you got quite a lot for your cash I can’t quite see how that is to be replicated like for like.

  5. Avatar Jonny

    Torrent site and tracker blocking. No one’s mentioned that yet, and I’ve had enough of BE website blocking. Imagine what it will become once fully migrated over to sky. Once the proper migration starts, I’ll be off to another small ISP to pay my premium to be left alone and not blocked or shaped.

  6. Avatar cyclope

    The best move that sky could make ,would be to offer awholesale FTTC product using their network(built by easynet)Maybe they will offer such to 02Wholesale ? Then smaller isp’s could resell it, that way a alternative to BTW would be availble without having to endure the sky support and all the other bad points about sky like it’s censoring/web blocking policies

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