According to reports from ENN, Sky Ireland, the Irish subsidiary of UK-based BSkyB, is ‘actively looking for opportunities’ to launch a broadband service in Ireland’, although it claims the market dynamics in the Republic have forced BSkyB to modify its business plan to effect a launch. A spokesman for Sky Ireland said it was exploring three alternatives to introduce the service. ‘The options we’re looking at are, firstly, organic growth whereby we use Easynet to pursue local loop unbundling (LLU), which is expensive and will take around 18 months, and, secondly, an acquisition of an existing broadband provider. The other possibility is to enter a partnership agreement and get into bed with someone like Smart Telecom, Magnet, BT or eircom, Sky Ireland said.
Sky Ireland had around 606,000 cable TV customers at the end of September, only 2,000 more than the previous quarter, although the number of digital subscriptions reached 441,000, a net increase of 14,000 over the quarter. Sky Ireland also launched a free 3G mobile phone news service in July, and says it signed up 60,000 unique users in the ‘free’ phase, a figure which has dropped to 50,000 since it began charging for the service.