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Sky details new 'Picnic' broadband packages

UK satellite TV and broadband giant, BSkyB, has finally revealed the first official details of its new 'Picnic' broadband packages.

Rumoured as far back as August, the new options will allow customers more choice over what TV, broadband and voice services to adopt:

Key features of Picnic will include:

TV, broadband and telephony

Choose 1, 2 or 3 services in any combination

Transparent prices and great value

Fast broadband access with up to 16 Mbps download speeds

Money-saving call packages

Instant access to improved TV choice through an aerial

Popular channels including Sky Sports 1, Sky Movies, Sky One, a children's channel and a factual channel.

Access to Freeview channels

Perhaps the most interesting point comes from the use of digital terrestrial technology for its commercial TV service. Freeview channels aside (SkyNews 24 etc.), BSkyB has predominantly been a satellite operator and its move into the more accessible terrestrial stream could prove attractive.

However Sky has yet to reveal any precise pricing or package details to the public. In addition the service must also first meet with Ofcom's approval, which may help to explain the limited information:

The decision to proceed with the launch of Picnic is subject to the outcome of Ofcom's review of the proposed increased choice of TV programming. Ofcom has said that it plans to launch a consultation on the initial licence changes later this autumn.

Customers will access the Picnic TV service through a new generation of digital set-top boxes. The new boxes will help to lead future innovations on the digital terrestrial television (DTT) platform such as the adoption of MPEG-4 compression standards, which allow viewers to benefit from an increased choice of channels. The Picnic TV service will initially consist of 3 MPEG-2 video streams but, subject to approval by Ofcom, Picnic aims to move to MPEG-4 and add a fourth channel dedicated to Sky News.

Hopefully Sky's plans will add some weight to Ofcom's consultation and get things moving; otherwise it could be next year before their service is allowed to see the light of day. We look forward to further details in the near future.

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