The Easynet acquisition is an important part of BSkyB’s triple-play (telephone, broadband, and pay TV) expansion strategy because it provides BSkyB with a fixed-line network that will enable it to push content and offer alternative services without relying on its core satellite system.
The company already offers movie and sports download via broadband, and TV to mobile phones. It said its high-bandwidth satellite DTH is still the best and most cost-effective delivery platform of video content into most UK homes. However, it said the Easynet network will enable it to start offering other consumer services it has not been able to offer before such as broadband access, and Voice over IP.
Easynet’s network is the Marconi-built Ipsaris network, which cost approximately 300m pounds to install. The network itself is made up of 4,450 kilometers of fiber, with metro rings located in London, Birmingham, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. It has a 320-petabyte capacity, and it uses the canal network of waterways that connect most towns and cities in the UK. Easynet says that building the network along the canal towpaths meant the cost of getting the fiber into the ground was a lot cheaper than digging up pavements or roads.
Besides this network, Easynet has also been one of the leading companies involved in local loop unbundling, whereby it installs its own equipment into BT telephony exchanges. The company has until now concentrated on the business market, but following its acquisition by Sky and the fact that Ofcom has ruled that BT must open up its exchange, it is pushing ahead with unbundling in order to expand into the consumer sector.