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Sky predicts ‘M25 effect’ 4G bottleneck, Wi-Fi still needed

4G mobile broadband in the UK will initially be great, but will grind to a slowdown as takeup increases, claimed Sky’s Chief Operating Officer Mike Darcey.

Speaking at the Future of Entertainment Summit in London yesterday, Darcey said that “4G will be great but there will be an M25 effect. The traffic will build pretty quickly and Wi-Fi will still be needed and used by the public.”

Sky of course has an interest in promoting Wi-Fi. The Cloud’s network of 10,000 hotspots (which Sky owns) is free to access for Sky broadband customers and is a means to access catch-up and on-demand services like Sky Anytime and Sky Go from your iPad or laptop.

Darcey explained that; “We are trying to give our broadband customers free Wi-Fi across the country’s hotspots and we are convinced that wireless technology is key going forwards.” 

While 4G will let us access the web from our phones and tablets at higher speeds streaming video would eat into your data plan and decimate your battery; a closed Wi-Fi network for Sky customers seems to be the best way to catch “the last game of the Premier League and the drama of Game Of Thrones,” on the go.

4G won’t likely be live in the UK until 2013 at the earliest, though the spectrum auction, to allocate parts of the airwaves to the mobile networks, is on course to happen this year. Yesterday Ed Vaizey, minister for culture, communications and the creative industries laid the blame at the doors of the networks for the UK lagging behind in the 4G rollout stakes.

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