Alternative British broadband provider BSkyB is reportedly planning to enter the Republic of Ireland’s broadband and telephony markets later this year, throwing down the gauntlet to its likely biggest competitor, UPC Ireland. UK-based BSkyB intends to open a dedicated customer contact centre for Irish customers, at Burlington Plaza, Dublin in September, local press reports say, and plans to expand its workforce to 900 staff within 18 months. The company says it will look to up-sell high speed internet and voice call services to existing Sky customers, effectively offering a triple-play TV, broadband internet and telephony option. It is understood that whilst BT Ireland will manage the telecoms infrastructure side of the project, BSkyB will provide its own ‘white-label’ service to retail customers. Details are sketchy, but the company is tipped to announce its new tariff plans in October, with the service going live in the run-up to Christmas.
Sky currently has an estimated 693,000 customers in the Republic accoring to market research group AC Nielsen), making it the single biggest player in the pay-TV segment. Its main competition comes from Liberty Global Inc’s UPC Ireland unit, which counted 332,700 TV customers, 272,000 broadband connections and 187,200 telephony subscribers at 31 March 2012.