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Sky High

Sky has joined the fibre broadband wars. And it's undercutting its main rivals

All the big telecoms players are offering high-speed broadband in Ireland from today.

SKY IS GOING head-to-head with arch rivals UPC and Eircom for high-speed broadband punters as it finally launches a fibre service for Ireland.

And the company will be aiming to undercut competitors with its initial offering, which will be among the cheapest fibre packages in the country – at least to begin with.

Both existing and new customers will be able to sign up to Sky’s plans from today, although the company won’t be officially promoting its offers until later this month.

It will put up an introductory offer of unlimited broadband with speeds of up to 100Mb/s for €30 a month for the first half-year, then €50 per month after that. The package will include some phone calls and costs a total of €480 for the initial year.

Sky’s offer will lob in cheaper over 12 months than UPC, Eircom and Vodafone’s comparable products – although UPC has a cheaper fibre package at speeds of 60MB/s and Vodafone provides a cut-price, broadband-only service at €35 a month.

The telecoms company will partner with BT Ireland for the service and piggy-back on Eircom’s fibre network, which has been rolled out to 1 million premises so far and is scheduled to reach 1.6 million potential sites by mid-2016.

Sky struggling in broadband but winning for TV

Until now, Sky has been lagging well behind the other big telecoms players with its broadband offering.

It was charging €40 a month for its unlimited DSL broadband plans, but these rely on old, copper phone lines for delivery and have maximum speeds of 24Mb/s.

Sky Ireland managing director JD Buckley said the company was already the fastest-growing internet provider in Ireland and its fibre plans would “raise the bar further”.

Sky Fibre Billy Stickland / INPHO Sky Ireland managing director JD Buckley Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

It’s an important part of Sky’s continued commitment to invest in Ireland, which we’re doing through jobs, content production, and crucially through new products and services for our customers.”

The company had only 6.6% of all Irish broadband subscribers in June, compared to 37.2% for leader Eircom – most of whose customers are still using DSL services.

Bur despite having the best reach in Ireland, Eircom has struggled to sign up as many fibre customers as UPC, which has about twice as many broadband subscribers on its network.

Meanwhile, Sky has been the leader in signing up digital TV customers with an estimated 500,000 subscribers in Ireland, although it doesn’t provide exact figures for its trade in the Republic.

And it will be hoping the new fibre broadband offering will help it lure extra customers onto its more-expensive “triple-play” packs that include broadband, TV and phone calls.

Those bundles will start from €834 for the first year’s subscription, significantly higher than the cost for both Eircom and UPC’s fibre packages when digital TV is included.

READ: This is what the government’s National Broadband Plan for rural Ireland looks like >

READ: Ireland’s super-fast broadband war has begun and it’s coming to a town near you >

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