BT has announced it has plans to introduce a broadband television service in the UK, aimed to compete directly with BskyB’s Sky+ service. With the cheeky codename “Sky Plus Plus”, a nod to object-based programers everywhere, the project is intended to increase broadband adoption. This will be BT’s first foray into broadcasting, after months and months of false starts and speculation.
BT has already approached the BBC and ITV for content for the project, but will need much more than just those two if it really wants to compete with Sky+.
The telco had originally intended to launch the service in October, but delayed because they thought the initial package was too complicated as it comprised a digital set-top box and PC modem, plus subscribers would have to pay an additional fee for broadband internet access. They have not yet specified if subscribers will have to use a PC to view content, or if it will be viewable on televisions. Also undecided is whether the company will be streaming live programmes or just presenting video on demand. If they are to compete effectively with BSkyB, the BT offering must provide a much wider range of features, as Sky+ offers live television, pausing, archiving and renowned ease of use.
BT has also announced a new partnership with Microsoft – this time to deliver a next-generation collaboration service. Going far beyond video conferencing, the service basically glues together BT’s audio conference products and Microsoft’s Office Live Meeting.
BT have piloted the service internally in the past year, and claim to have saved 6.2 million miles of business travel, which also means 112 million less litres of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere from vehicles.