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Internet service provider (ISP) Sky has confirmed plans to purchase public Wi-Fi network operator The Cloud.

Rumours concerning a potential acquisition were confirmed in BSkyB's July to December 2010 financial results announcement, which revealed that a deal was agreed on January 11th 2011.

The takeover will give Sky access to a ready-made network of 5,000 public wireless broadband hotspots, subject to regulatory clearance.

Sky said the addition of The Cloud's network would help improve existing broadband services by providing access to the internet on the move.

The move will put further pressure on BT to invest in its own public Wi-Fi network, especially in light of O2's plans to establish a wireless broadband service of its own.

Tim Sefton, New Business Development Director at O2, said the broadband provider was "looking at ways to grow and evolve its business", with free public Wi-Fi firmly on the agenda.

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