Vodafone, BSkyB in talks to curb BT's broadband reach: report

LONDON Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:29am EST

A man checks his mobile phone as he walks past a shop displaying the Vodafone logo on its shutter in Mumbai January 15, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A man checks his mobile phone as he walks past a shop displaying the Vodafone logo on its shutter in Mumbai January 15, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui

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LONDON (Reuters) - Vodafone and BSkyB have held high-level discussions on how to curb BT's growing reach over the broadband market, the Sunday Times reported, citing senior sources.

The newspaper said the talks illustrate the extent to which the once-staid telecoms operator has gained on its competitors by betting on fiber broadband and top flight football.

According to its sources, the newspaper said BSkyB, the Rupert Murdoch-owned pay-TV group, and Vodafone discussed striking deals on Sky's sports and movie channels and collaborating on a high-speed broadband service.

However, the sources said, it was unlikely that the two firms would build a nationwide fiber network because it would cost several billion pounds.

Vodafone declined to comment while Sky was not immediately available to comment.

BT is spending more than 3 billion pounds ($4.93 billion) on a high-speed fiber-optic network that should reach 90 percent of homes by next year and a further 2 billion pounds on sports broadcast rights, the newspaper said.

Shares in BSkyB lost more than 1.5 billion pounds of their value in November after BT won the rights auction to show Champions League soccer.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; additional reporting by Kate Holton)

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