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Internet service provider (ISP) Sky could be set to move into the public Wi-Fi broadband hotspot market, it has been suggested.

The Sunday Times claimed that a deal could be in place to acquire The Cloud, an established wireless broadband network operator.

It said more details could be released over a potential deal when Sky announces its latest quarterly financial results, reports ISPreview.co.uk.

Purchasing The Cloud could enable Sky to compete directly with BT in the burgeoning public wireless internet access market.

Should a deal be completed, Sky would gain immediate access to 22,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK, allowing it to offer wireless broadband access to broadband deal subscribers.

Virgin Media also recently announced plans to tap into the market, having been inspired by the networking achievements of Cablevision in New York.

Kevin Baughan, Director of Advanced Technology at the ISP, said Virgin Media was "actively exploring" the possibility of creating a similar network in the UK.

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