Sky Broadband is an Internet Service Provider in the United Kingdom that provides unlimited fibre and adsl broadband packages. Sky Broadband is owned by Sky UK, which is British telecommunications company that is currently owned by Sky Limited, a subsidiary of Comcast. Prior to Comcast's acquisition of Sky Limited in late 2018, Sky's largest shareholder was Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox. While Sky UK can be traced back to Satellite Television Ltd (SATV) -- founded by Brian Haynes -- it was Rupert Murdoch who was the 'driving force' behind its success in the 1990s, and who was the de-facto 'power behind the throne' of Sky until its acquisition by Comcast. Sky's initial and primary business (it has also been named British Sky Broadcasting Limited and BSkyB) has been providing a satellite television broadcast. It was only until the 2000s that Sky branched out and started to provide other telecommunications services. Sky Broadband was the first of these new services, and evolved out of the acquisition of Easynet in 2005; Easynet at the time was one of the UK's most popular independent Internet Service Providers and was purchased by Sky for £211 million in October 2005.
(Pictured: Sky logo, and the Sky Broadband Hub)
Easynet were one of the first independent Internet Service Providers in the United Kingdom, and amongst the most popular in the 1990s and early 2000s. Easynet was an innovator and the pioneer of Local-loop unbundling (LLU); LLU allows multiple telecommunications operators to install their own equipment and use connections at a telephone exchange. When Sky acquired Easynet in 2005, Easynet had in the region of 250 LLU's operations, probably the highest amount of any UK ISP. Sky Broadband continued Easynet's trend of installing their own equipment at telephone exchanges in the UK. However, due to Sky Broadband's success -- it is one of the largest ISPs in the UK -- it has run into capacity issues: the BBC reporting in January 2013 that Sky Broadband was struggling with demand at some of its telephone exchanges. ISP Review, in 2013, provided statistics for subscriber numbers in the UK: 1) BT 6,560,000; 2) Virgin Media 4,460,000; 3) Sky Broadband 4,230,000; 4) TalkTalk 4,050,000; 5) EE 690,000. Alongside its Easynet acquisition, Sky added additional subscribers by purchasing the O2 and BE broadband businesses from Telefonica in March 2013.
At present, according to ISP Review, Sky Broadband are currently the second largest Internet Service Provider in the United Kingdom, with an estimated 6,200,000 subscribers. Its main competitors are currently BT (over 9 million subscribers), Virgin Media (over 5 million subscribers) and TalkTalk (over 4 million subscribers). After the 'big four', the amount of subscribers for other ISPs trails off massively (none having more than a million): Vodafone UK, Glide, Post Office, Ask4, KCOM, and Zen Internet. Sky Broadband currently provide two broadband services: Superfast (fibre) and Essential (ADSL/DSL). Sky Broadband Essential is available to the vast majority of UK homes with a landline telephone line, but Sky Broadband Superfast is currently only available in specific postcodes (usually urban areas). Sky Broadband were amongst the first of the big ISPs to offer broadband with no download cap, and they still state their broadband is unlimited (downloads). Both broadband services currently have a £19.95 set-up cost and come with a 18 months contract. Sky Broadband routers have historically been manufactured by Netgear, Sagem and D-Link.