With Sky Wifi a new fixed network operator is born, but also a new platform with which Sky intends to expand its offer.
The sky is transforming itself. It is no longer just a pay-TV or a satellite station, it would be an understatement to define it this way. Sky, like many of the most important companies operating in the world of technology, is expanding its horizons year by year, expanding its offer towards sectors that until a few years ago seemed precluded. There are many similar cases, for example, Apple has landed in the world of streaming with Apple TV +, Samsung offers mobile payment services, in short, it is evident that horizontal business expansion is no longer an option, but a necessity.
That’s why the arrival of Sky Wifi should not be seen as the culmination of the project, but rather as the beginning of an ecosystem that will continue to grow in the coming years.
The new offer
Sky has made it big for the launch of its first landline offering. The investment in Italy was 230 million eurosCEO Maximo Ibarra also pointed out that 270 new jobs have been created, very good news in a period like this. At the base of the offer, we find the Open Fiber network, the fastest in Italy, already available in many cities. Fastweb’s infrastructure will be used for the areas not covered, but only after the summer. At least at the beginning, therefore, the offer will be limited because Open Fiber, however widespread, certainly does not reach everywhere. For now, only Sky subscribers will be able to subscribe to the service, but in the future, this option will be open to all.
Sky has invested in the network to create an infrastructure that further enhances that of Open Fiber, according to Maximo Ibarra this is capable of adapt to traffic according to timetables, usage and number of connected devices. The band then adjusts to different traffic needs during the day. The Sky network, again in the CEO’s words, is efficient because it is widespread, even if fewer joints are needed to manage it, thus reducing the environmental impact.
The performance of this network is what is expected of optical fibre, it reaches peaks of 900 Mbps in download and you can exceed 300 Mbps in upload, all with a reduced input lag, to the delight of gamers. Thanks to the integration between the Open Fiber network and Sky infrastructures, the use of the content on Sky Q will be faster, it takes just a few seconds to start a 4K video, a resolution that we hope will be used more and more, together with an increase in the bitrate, given the performance offered by optical fibre.
To manage it, Sky has created an intelligent modem-router, the Wifi Hub. The network generated through this device is adaptive and uses an intelligent algorithm that learns from the needs of the individual home, adjusting the bandwidth capacity according to its use.
The modem is dual-band, 2.4 and 5 GHz, and uses the mesh technology to expand the signal coverage through accessories called Pods, which are connected to an electrical outlet and are configured automatically. Simplicity is one of the cornerstones of the offer, as also underlined by Maximo Ibarra.
Everything is configured through a smartphone application, with which up to five profiles can be created, one for each family member and each with their respective associated devices.
In this way you can manage the use of the network, for example by turning off the internet at certain times, to encourage socializing in the home, or by disconnecting devices in specific time slots.
The service is down active in 26 cities, but it will be 120 by the end of the summer. As for prices, the basic offer, called Smart, includes a 1 Gbps connection at a cost of € 29.90 per month and includes the Sky Wi-Fi Hub modem. The activation fee is 49 €. The Ultra offers adds two Wi-Fi Pods and costs € 32.90 per month, with an activation cost of € 99. At the top of the proposal is the Ultra Plus package, identical to the Ultra one but with unlimited calls to fixed and mobile numbers at € 37.90, with € 99 activation. At this early stage Sky offers the first three months of subscription at no cost furthermore, activation is discounted by € 50, so it is free for the basic offer.
The key to Sky’s future
The launch of Sky Wifi should not be seen as the culmination of the project, because in reality, we are only at the beginning. Maximo Ibarra, during the press conference, also spoke about the future of this platform. A future in which the expansion of Sky’s offerings will go far beyond television content and networks. We don’t know when, but Sky wants to focus on the security and integration of services, proposing, for example, home security systems, such as smart cameras and motion sensors. In a few years, we will be able to buy an alarm system connected to the Wifi Hub from Sky for example.
Another important point, touched only in passing, is the exploitation of the huge band available with optical fibre. In a period in which streaming services are slow to bring the quality of content reproduction back to the pre-Covid era, without providing any motivation, Sky has a network with enormous potential.
Thanks to the fibre it is possible to convey 8K video with relative simplicity, the huge band available for download allows it. Or, more simply, it can be transmitted in 4K at a high bitrate, with a visual quality clearly superior to that possible today via satellite.
We are obviously talking about the future, for now, Sky does not intend to move definitively to streaming, but Ibarra has not ruled outgrowth in its importance in the long run. It now seems clear that Sky Wifi is much more than just a network operator, it is an important piece of an ecosystem destined to expand in the next years.