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Sky falling: 119,000 Brits flee O2, Be after Murdoch broadband gobble

Whiff of octogenarian media lord sends 1 in 5 running

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One in five O2 and Be broadband subscribers abandoned the home internet service after it was bought by BSkyB - according to figures shown to the City this morning.

At the end of last month, BSkyB's total broadband customer base stood at 4.9 million having gobbled up about 400,000 subscribers following its acquisition of O2 and Be's home broadband network from parent telco Telefonica.

The deal was confirmed in March after The Register revealed that the entertainment giant's execs were sniffing around O2 and Be in January. Prior to the takeover, Telefonica UK said it had 519,000 broadband consumers on its books.

That means 119,000 account holders ditched Telefonica's Blighty broadband service as it fell into the clutches of BSkyB.

We noticed in May that the subscriber numbers weren't looking too healthy.

The pay-TV giant, which is 39 per cent-owned by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, actually added fewer new subscribers to its broadband service in the final quarter compared with the same period a year earlier - once you exclude the addition of O2 and BE.

BSkyB announced that it had added 119,000 broadband customers off its own back in the past three months, the fourth quarter of the 2013 business year ended 30 June. In 2012's Q4 the firm attracted 138,000 people to that service. BSkyB, meanwhile, boasted that the Telefonica deal netted it more than a million "product additions", which isn't the same as the number of new broadband users.

As for the full year results - ended 30 June - the company reported record total sales of £7.2bn - a 7 per cent surge in revenue, while pre-tax profit climbed 10 per cent to £1.25bn.

“We expect the consumer environment to remain challenging over the coming twelve months," BSkyB boss Jeremy Darroch said.

"Against that backdrop, we have a strong set of plans that will extend our leadership in core areas – on screen, in home communications and in front - line service delivery; accelerate growth in new services; and improve efficiency to build a bigger, more profitable business for shareholders."

The company said its NOW TV offering - an IP streaming box - would be available from today with a £9.99 price tag. ®

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