News Corporation-owned BSkyB may be on the verge of buying Wi-Fi service provider the Cloud, according to a report which appeared yesterday in the business section of the Sunday Times.
The report said that it would "offer its 2.8m broadband customers Internet access on the move after buying The Cloud" before adding that the deal "would be announced this week".
Given the very close proximity between BSkyB and Sunday Times, it is likely that a formal announcement will follow very shortly. The Cloud has been quietly building a very impressive nationwide Wi-Fi network and counts O2 as one of its strategic customers.
They have more than 22,000 Wi-Fi Access points peppered across Europe and have more than 600,000 customers, quite a few of whom, we understand, are high value individuals (businessmen, professionals etc).
BSkyB, as an Internet service provider, is currently losing out to its main competitor BT as the latter bundles free, unlimited Wi-Fi minutes with all of its broadband accounts (even the entry level ones) courtesy of BT FON Wi-Fi and BT Openzone.
The news comes a few weeks after Virgin Media was rumoured to be preparing a free Wi-Fi nationwide Network for its 4.1 million customers, possibly with the help of Three Networks.