BSkyB is to purchase The Cloud, the nationwide network of Wi-fi hotspots, according to The Sunday Times. The paper says the deal could be announced on Thursday when the satcaster is scheduled to release its quarterly results.A tie-up with The Cloud would prove a bonus for Sky’s 2.8 million fixed broadband customers as it extends the multiscreen concept. Sky already provides subscribers with access to a broad selection of its own and third party channels over the internet and bundled access to The Cloud would ease the task of watching them away from home.
A series of iPad and iPhone apps give subscribers access to Sky Sports and a fully functional programme guide. Its latest iPad app – for the Sky 1 show Got to Dance – allows subscribers to take part in interactive voting.
BT already has its own network of hotspots and last November Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett indicated the cableco might launch its own hotspot network in areas where it could justify the investment.
Launched in 2003, The Cloud is available in Marriott hotels, McDonald’s and Pret a Manger. It is backed by venture capital groups DFJ Esprit and Accel Partners.
BSkyB told Broadband TV News it had no comment on the matter.