BSkyB keeps broadband on hold for Irish market

BSkyB has not ruled out entering the broadband market in Ireland, but will keep plans to roll out its Sky Broadband product here on ice until significant changes are seen in the market.

Last week saw BSkyB post upbeat group results for its first half – the six months to the end of December – including an 8% year-on-year increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to £567 million (€654m), an 11% hike in earnings per share to 14.47p and a 10% rise in interim revenues to just under £2.9bn.

No figures are broken down for Sky’s Irish operations, but the halfway mark of the financial year sees the group covering about 40% of all homes in the Republic with its digital television service. While the communications regulator, ComReg estimates that Sky has 590,000 subscribers in Ireland, the true figure is understood to be in excess of 600,000.

Across Britain and Ireland, combined, Sky now reaches just under ten million households.

It is understood that Sky is reluctant to launch its broadband offering in Ireland until internet penetration improves here and more movement is made by Eircom on the local loop unbundling issue. The company would have to avail of another company’s network to push its offering and does not want to dilute what it sees as the high-quality service if already provides here.

However, one product due for residential launch in the second half of this year is Sky’s 3DTV offering, which was tried out in eight pubs in Britain and Ireland for yesterday’s showing of the Arsenal/Manchester United match.

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