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BT Infinity vs Sky fibre broadband

Wednesday, June 4th 2014

They're not only two of the biggest names in UK broadband, but also they both offer super-fast fibre connections. So if you're trying to choose between BT and Sky, what do you need to know?

Our impartial and detailed head-to-head guide reveals who wins when it comes to speed, availability, download limits and more, so you can make a more informed choice between these two broadband heavy hitters.

At a glance

BT and Sky are two of the biggest players in the UK fibre optic broadband market, and you can see from the table below that they are very evenly matched.

Download speedsUp to 76MbUp to 76Mb
Upload speedsUp to 19MbUp to 19Mb
Usage options40GB & unlimitedUnlimited
Fair usage policyNoNo
Traffic managementNoNo
Static IPNoNo
Minimum contract18 months18 months
Public Wi-FiYesYes
Prices from£7.50 per month£7.50 per month
Compare deals →Compare deals →
BT
Download speed
Up to 76Mbps
Upload speed
Up to 19Mbps
Usage options
40GB & unlimited
Fair usage policy
No
Traffic management
No
Static IP
No
Minimum contract
18 months
Public Wi-Fi
Yes
Prices from
Sky
Download speed
Up to 76Mbps
Upload speed
Up to 19Mbps
Usage options
Unlimited
Fair usage policy
No
Traffic management
No
Static IP
No
Minimum contract
18 months
Public Wi-Fi
Yes
Prices from

Speed

BT

On paper, BT offers up to 300Mbps connections with their ultrafast Infinity 4 service, but we've yet to find anyone able to receive this top speed. As a result, the fastest optimum speed that we've found from BT that's actually available to a reasonable number of consumers is up to 76Mbps. With these speeds, the provider estimates that you'd be able to download an album in around four seconds, and a feature-length HD movie in around 10 minutes.

Sky

Sky’s fibre service can clock in at up to 76Mbps, which is generally the top optimum speed for most fibre packages in the UK (with the exception of those carried on Virgin Media's cable network). If that's a bit too speedy for your tastes, there's a slower and lower priced tier of fibre broadband available from Sky, which has optimum downloads of 38Mbps.

Download speeds76Mb
up to
76Mb
up to
Upload speeds19Mb
up to
19Mb
up to
BT
Download speed
Up to 76Mbps
Upload speed
Up to 19Mbps
Monthly allowance
40GB & Unlimited
Fair usage policy
No
Sky
Download speed
Up to 76Mbps
Upload speed
Up to 19Mbps
Monthly allowance
Unlimited
Fair usage policy
No

Package comparison

BT

There are three BT fibre-optic broadband packages; BT Infinity Extra (up to 38Mbps with 40GB usage cap), Unlimited BT Infinity 1 (up to 38Mbps with unlimited data usage), and Unlimited BT Infinity 2 (up to 76Mbps with unlimited data).

BT also offers packages for its high speeds of 160Mbps and 300Mbps, but these won’t be advertised until a greater proportion of customers on the network can actually access the speeds. Alongside the monthly cost, you’ll also have to take on line rental. Standard BT line rental costs £15.99 each mont

Compare BT & Sky fibre broadband→

Sky

There are two Sky fibre broadband packages, both of which come with totally unlimited downloads; the up to 38Mbps Sky Fibre Unlimited and the up to 76Mbps Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro. Whichever package you go for, you'll pay £15.40 per month line rental.

  • Broadband
    Max Download Speed38Mb
    Max Upload Speed9.5Mb
    Monthly UsageUnlimited
    Fair UsageNo
    Traffic ShapingNo
    IP AddressingDynamic
    Digital TV
    TV Channels-
    SD Channels-
    HD Channels-
    3D Channels-
    Radio Channels-
    Home Phone
    Daytime Calls9ppm
    Evening Calls9ppm
    Weekend CallsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Monthly Cost
    (£23 after 3 mths)
    £16
    Upfront Cost£36.95
    Contract Length18 months
    Line Rental p/m£15.99
    Average Monthly£36.54
    First Year Cost£423.83
    Lifetime Cost£657.77
    See deal →
    or call 0800 840 5395
  • Broadband
    Max Download Speed38Mb
    Max Upload Speed10Mb
    Monthly UsageUnlimited
    Fair UsageNo
    Traffic ShapingNo
    IP AddressingDynamic
    Digital TV
    TV Channels-
    SD Channels-
    HD Channels-
    3D Channels-
    Radio Channels-
    Home Phone
    Daytime Calls7.95ppm
    Evening Calls7.95ppm
    Weekend CallsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Monthly Cost
    (£20 after 6 mths)
    £10
    Upfront Cost£6.95
    Contract Length18 months
    Line Rental p/m£15.40
    Average Monthly£32.45
    First Year Cost£371.75
    Lifetime Cost£584.15
    See deal →
    or call 0800 840 5394

Availability

Although they're two discrete services, both BT Infinity and Sky fibre broadband are carried on the BT Openreach network. As a result of this, availability is virtually identical – if you can get one, you should be able to get the other. You can find out exactly what you can get where you are by entering your postcode into the availability checker below.

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Customer service

BT

Industry watchdog Ofcom last released complete broadband customer satisfaction statistics in December 2013, and found that BT had an average satisfaction rate of 63%, same overall rating as 2012. So there hasn't been a huge change, but it did score lower than average for offering compensation or a goodwill payment.

Sky

In comparison to BT, Sky had an average customer satisfaction rate of 71%. An 8% increase to previous year. Sky scored above average in a number of areas, including the ability of it's advisors to understand an issue and identify the problem. This means that, on the strength of the Ofcom report, Sky are more successful when it comes to keeping customers happy.

Technology and equipment

BT

The BT Home Hub 5 features smart power-saving modes which switch the device to an electricity bill pleasing low energy consumption mode when not being used.

It also searches to find you the least congested Wi-Fi channel so you can get the quietest connection possible where you are. You'll get multiple simultaneous connections, either via Ethernet ports or Wi-Fi. BT also make a point of highlighting how the Home Hub fits through average letterboxes when delivered.

Sky

The Sky Hub is taller and deeper than the BT alternative, but almost half the width. Like the Home Hub, it also boasts a power saving mode which reduces the amount of power used when not in use, will automatically scan for the quietest Wi-Fi channel and let you connect either wirelessly or via an Ethernet cable.

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Extra features

BT

As a BT broadband customer you’ll get free and unlimited access to public Wi-Fi at 5 million UK hotspots.

When you sign up for BT Infinity, you’ll be able to watch BT Sport online entirely for free. This is a great benefit for sport fans, as you can watch football matches without having to sign up for a subscription TV service. In addition, the BT NetProtect Plus security package is provided free to all unlimited BT Infinity customers, and features anti-virus, firewall and content blocking controls.

Sky

All Sky unlimited broadband packages include unlimited access to public Wi-Fi at Cloud hotspots, but bear in mind that there are currently just 10,000 of these throughout the UK – fewer than the BT alternative. Sky updated their security software in late 2013 to roll out their Broadband Shield package – free for broadband customers. It gives consumers the option of blocking categories of content or alternatively filter sites by age. The limits that are set are then applied to any devices that use the home connection, whether it's a PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet.

Conclusion

BT

At first glance, the up to 300Mbps headline speed could make BT an attractive option - but the lack of widespread availability means the majority of consumers won't be able to benefit from these ultrafast connections. This aside, the only thing to really separate BT from Sky is a small difference in price and the presence of 40GB and unlimited options.

Sky

Keeping things simple, Sky fibre broadband is unlimited, so you can make the most of up to 76Mbps speeds without worrying about data usage. Since it's carried on the BT Openreach network, you should find that if you can get BT Infinity, then you can get Sky fibre too.

And don't forget, Cable.co.uk now produces in-depth broadband reviews of every major UK broadband package, so check them out if you need more information.

Compare BT & Sky fibre broadband→

Comments (26)

Dave
2 days ago

I have BT ininity and the BT openreach box has been affected by the storms/lightning. Called BT, terrible customer service - no call back after 2.5 hrs. Called them back and quickest an engineer can come out to replace the box is 10 days time. No compensation and no other options. I can get a new line installed in that time!!!!

Shaun
16th June 2014

Was on Bt infinity, due to bizzy lifestyle I was not checking the fact I was going over the 40 gb limit. Only noticed due to the fact my Bt bill went up to £83!!! Did Bt inform me.....no! Bye bye Bt, hello Sky

Midnight_Voice
21st May 2014

Do BT really no longer do traffic shaping? They certainly used to, even though the detentions rep vehemently denied it when I called and asked them for my MAC code to move to Sky, who don't do this.

But downloads were telling a different story - quoting 12-16 hours at 23:59 and 2-3 at 00:01. So there quite clearly was shaping, which went off regular as clockwork at midnight.

All was perfect with Sky, so even the remote possibility that it was local contention was not the case.

But that was three years ago - has the leopard changed its spots since then?

Tacky
19th May 2014

I was with Sky broadband for a couple of years on the unlimited tariff, the speed was advertised at 24 meg I was getting 16meg at the beginning but after a few months the speed began to slow down and my connection started dropping out. I rang them of course and emailed loads of times they gave me the usual turn off you router routine but in the end I left Sky. I signed up to BT Infinity 2 and the Engineer installed new wiring from the junction box were the phone line comes in the house and cut out the old phone wiring which ran up to the loft and to the upstairs bedrooms, I had full speed of 80 meg, that is if I used an ethernet cable it was around 47 Meg over wifi. I bought a 600 dual broadband BT dongle that runs at 5GHZ and now I get full speed over WIFI too 78 Meg. Oh Sky have admitted that since buying up more ISPs they can't provide the speed they're advertising, good riddance.

Ivan
18th May 2014

We switched to sky broadband, from bt around 18 months ago. We had loads of trouble with bt, switched to sky and they got it sorted! We moved house about 7 months ago, we live in the same area but are nearer the exchange here. Our speed went up from 6mbps to 16mbps! We've just switched to sky fibre and we're now getting 35mbps download and 9mbps upload. At the moment it seems to be fantastic! With me and my stepson both gaming, plus me with my ps4 and ps3 and the missus regularly watching netflix, we wanted a faster connection. All I can say is so far so good. Although it's only fibre to the cabinet, then copper wires from there to your house, it's still very good and well worth an upgrade, in my opinion :)

garfy
4th May 2014

I find it frustrating that you have to use their equipment as modem is crimped.Also sky police there internet

Tacky
29th April 2014

What a lot of new users to BT and sky fibre don't realise is that nearly all computers run on 2.4 GHZ so if you have WIFI say to a laptop and it has the 802.11 g card inside you cannot get full speed only around half. If you want near full speed on WIFI you will need a wireless AC card which at the moment only a couple of computers have,The new Apple computers and a PC by Asus. the AC card runs at 5GHZ which is a lot more reliable and free from interference from phones, microwaves and mobiles that all use 2.4 GHZ. The AC card is backwards compatible to 2.4 GHZ too. Distance on 5GHZ WIFI can be a bit of a problem and you need to be in close vicinity to your router which will also need to run at 5GHZ and 2.4 GHZ your router will automatically pick up what ever speed your on. Thanks for reading and good luck with your fibre speeds.

mark
15th April 2014

Went from BT broadband to infinity since going on infinity the wirless connectio drops after 2 hrs had 2 engineers out know sending a third out to try and solve it but before going on to fibre optic had no problem with wireless network paying for fiber at a speed of 77.46 mb but running a speed test with BT whosale speed is betwen 38mb and 42 mb speed is fluctuating all the time. Told BT in wireless side on mobile before fiber was ok then as soon as I went on fiber the smart phone had to reboot. after 3 hrs lost connection told bt and they said no you should not have to reboot phone told bt if it damages 2 phones and a laptop then will cost them all they could say it was because of the hard wire speed fluctuating but said was not guaranteed a wireless connection that stupid but told them why ask me to buy one of their dongles if the wirless is **** 4 weeks now. Trying to phone them is a nightmare

Darren
8th April 2014

I called Sky (my provider) at length last year and complained about the lack of coverage for a service both they and BT constantly advertise.

Sky explained (a senior manager at that who called me back) that the government had given the contract for upgrading the infrastructure solely to BT Openreach.

I am pleased to announce, that finally, at long last, a company contracting for Openreach have laid cable from the exchange to our box and it should come online in 4 to 6 weeks

Mark
29th March 2014

What you should know is that both Sky and BT use the same equipment as BT Openreach engineers are used for both providers, also TalkTalk, EE, Plusnet etc all use BT landline also. If your speeds are slow with one, they wont be much different to another, Mainly comes down to the router to detemine that. If your on the equivalent package on BT and move to Sky or vise versa there will be practically no difference in the speeds, if you have the same router on either provider theres no difference. Sky is cheaper than BT and the customer service is alot better than BT. Openreach are a nightmare and half the engineers are contractors brought in by BT and half of them are hopeless but dont get me wrong there is alot of them that do what they are supposed to. Placed an order with sky, Openreach call out...oh your Bt landlines not finished yet...opps...hopeless, Call Sky, they contact Openreach and say that you would think they would be aware of this as it is their infrastructure used. To you saying about who has access to fibre in the UK, that is just passed 60% not 93% etc and Openreach are putting 2.5bn into upgrading the infrastructure in the UK which is to have around 95% of the UK covered by the end of 2015.

BT was always bad experience for me and Sky brilliant, tho I know people can have good or bad from one or the other but in my experience Sky have been alot better.

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