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Sky fattens up broadband subs as it hovers above Fox's open mouth

Also set to launch broadband-based service TV service without satellite

Sky increased its number of broadband subscribers by 140,000 to more than six million households in the first six months of its financial year.

The business also announced it will launch a Sky TV service in the UK without the need for a satellite dish "opening up the full Sky TV service to millions of customers who either currently don't want or can't have a dish installed."

It said: "Launching in our next financial year and initially in the UK, this new broadband-based service will open up new headroom for growth."

Jeremy Darroch, the Sky chief executive, said it would allow Sky to target up to 6 million households across Europe who do not have a satellite dish.

He said: "It is a big moment for the business.”

The provider reported a fall in profits of 18 per cent of £679m after absorbing £314m step up in Premier League costs.

UK and Ireland revenue increased by 5 per cent £4.3bn, with group sales up 12 per cent to £6.4bn.

Darroch noted the uncertain climate. He said: "Whilst we expect the backdrop in our territories to remain uncertain, we are on track as we enter the second half of the financial year and we remain focused on delivering our clear strategy for growth."

Sky is currently jostling with BT to become a "quadplay" provider - offering fixed line, mobile, internet and TV services. It recently launched a Sky Mobile service in the UK.

At the end of last year Rupert Murdoch confirmed an £11.7bn bid to take full control of Sky. That is currently pending approval by the regulators. ®

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