Murdoch buys the Cloud – what does it mean?

Sunday Times broke the news last week that Murdochs media conglomerate (through B-Sky-B is bidding for “no-brand” WiFi infrastructure supplier TheCloud. The Cloud prouds itself to be an independent WiFi hot-spot provider, with a strong backbone network and providing 22.000 access point all over Europe at strategic places like airports, railway stations, major hotels etc. These services are mainly accessible to the user through other brands.

The key question is what this means to the business. In the short term, B-Sky-B is running a satellite based home-broadband access service, and adding TheClouds hotspots, would provide mobility to their customers. However, since TheCloud is a neutral provider, you would hardly need to own them to provide their services.

What is more worrying is that Big Broadcasters, like Mr Murdoch, have always been keen on establishing a vertical distribution chain with ownership of everything from content through CA-systems and physical distribution. Now in the latter department TV-towers and Satellites are now to be replaced by WiFi hotspots. So far legislators have resisted vertical integration in the traditional TV-Business, preventing large media companies owning the whole chain. Will they also react this time ?

Read more in this TelecomTV post

About Jens Zander

Professor Jens Zander is professor in Radio Communication Systems at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. He has been among the few in Swedens Ny Teknik magazine's annual list of influential people in ICT that have been given the epithet “Mobile Guru”. He is one of the leading researchers in mobile communication and is the Scientific director of the industry/academia collaboration center Wireless@KTH. His research group focuses on three main areas – the efficient and scalable use of the radio frequency spectrum, economic aspects of mobile systems and application and energy efficiency in future wireless infrastructures.
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