NOW Broadband finally offers Full Fibre – and boy is it cheap!

Dan Howdle | February 14th, 2024

NOW logo

If you're not familiar with NOW Broadband, its best known for three things: Being owned and run by Sky, being cheap, and carrying out no credit checks when you sign up. This makes it ideal for the type of person who wants a Sky-adjacent service, but hasn't got the cash to splash, or has a poor credit rating. Up until now, 'Full Fibre' hasn't been offered by NOW, but that's just changed. So let's take a closer look.

NOW Broadband Full Fibre 100

Full Fibre is the industry's chosen term to describe FTTP (fibre to the premises) broadband. The advantage of Full Fibre, which is currently available to roughly 57% of UK households is that it can reach speeds of up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps) or thereabouts. But, unlike competing services from the larger, premium providers such as Sky, BT or Virgin Media, you won't find any such speeds with NOW Broadband Full Fibre. In fact, its move into the world of Full Fibre feels a little half-hearted, with just a singular package, Full Fibre 100, offering 100Mbps download speeds.

Why is there only one NOW Broadband Full Fibre package?

Our immediate thought was that this had something to do with the router: NOW Broadband might need an upgraded router to provide anything faster, but no. It turns out it has to do with the fact that NOW Full Fibre 100 is being offered directly through Sky. NOW is owned by Sky, so this isn't exactly nonsensical. However, we do find the way this works to be a little confusing. So let's go through it.

NOW Broadband Full Fibre is 'powered by Sky'

What does that mean exactly? Well, it means that when you select NOW Full Fibre 100, you will be taken briefly to the NOW website where you'll be prompted to hit a button that says 'check coverage'. Doing so will take you to Sky's website for the remainder of the buying process. There are a few important points of interest to take into account here:

You'll get a Sky router

If you plump for NOW Full Fibre 100, Sky will loan you a Sky Hub for the duration of your contract. Pricing between NOW Broadband's 'Super Fibre' package (63Mbps) and Full Fibre 100 is very similar (no more that £1 in it usually), but the quality of the router skyrockets with the Sky Hub, making Full Fibre 100 much better value for money. If you can get it – remember Full Fibre is only available to 57% of UK households.

You cannot get NOW Full Fibre 100 if you're a Sky customer

NOW Full Fibre 100 is available to new customers only. That means if you're already a Sky customer you won't be able to get it. Sky defines 'new customer' as anyone who hasn't been with Sky for at least 12 months, so if you were with Sky more than a year ago but now you're not, you'll be fine to pull the trigger on this.

A phone line means a separate contract

Getting no home phone line as standard with a Full Fibre package isn't unusual, but things get a little weird if you want one with NOW Full Fibre 100. The phone line you'll need to add to the package will be a Sky line, and it'll be on a separate contract, meaning you'll be running a NOW contract and a Sky contract side-by-side.

If you can get NOW Full Fibre, you can get Sky Full Fibre

Because signing up to NOW Full Fibre 100 takes you to the Sky website to go through the checkout process, Sky will also show you the Sky deals available where you live once it's taken your postcode to check availability. You may find some of those Sky deals (and speeds) tempting, which is fine of course. Sky Full Fibre can go much faster than 100Mbps (at additional cost), but that's NOW Broadband's top speed.

NOW Full Fibre 100: The Sky Hub router

NOW Full Fibre 100 comes with the Sky Broadband Hub. Let’s have a look at some of its features. Note that the Sky Hub is not Wi-Fi 6 compatible, meaning it doesn't use the fastest, latest wifi protocol. Most customers won't notice or care about this, but it does raise an interesting point about the Sky Hub supplied with NOW Full Fibre 100.

Sky Full Fibre has an option called Sky Wi-Fi Max. For an additional monthly fee this will upgrade your router to Sky's top-tier Wi-Fi 6 model. However, as a NOW Broadband customer, you're not going to be able to use Sky Wi-Fi Max and therefore you're stuck with the Sky Hub. This will not be an issue for anybody, since 100Mbps doesn't get anywhere near the speed you need to take advantage of Wi-Fi 6, but we felt it was nevertheless worth mentioning.

Sky Hub router specs

Here's a quick overview of the tech specs you'll get with the Sky Hub (supplied with NOW Full Fibre 100):

Sky Broadband Hub Router
  • VDSL2/ADSL 2+ – VDSL2 means the hub can be connected by super-fast fibre optic cable to your home (once it becomes available), while ADSL2+ means you can also connect via a phone line
  • Smart channel selection – The Smart Hub automatically connects your devices to the fastest wifi channel and frequency available
  • Smart scan – The router continually checks your network connection as well as its own performance and automatically reboots if there's a problem
  • Dual band – Like many modern routers, the Smart Hub uses both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands
  • Four gigabit ethernet ports – Four gigabit ethernet ports, so you can use a wired connection for up to four devices
  • Eight antennae – The hub has eight aerials, providing a better wifi signal than previous Sky hubs. Your wifi signal should provide a good connection throughout your home
  • Internet calls – Sky Broadband Hub has a VOIP handset socket to allow the connection of an internet phone handset
  • Number of Devices – Up to 64 devices can be connected

NOW Broadband's speed guarantee

100Mbps is a very easy target for a Full Fibre connection. That's why we're not surprised to see NOW Broadband guaranteeing your speed. The guarantee itself is a little non-specific however. You'll need to experience a drop in speed down to the bottom 10% of people receiving your speed, and then NOW/Sky promises some 'money back'. Well, it's something we guess.

What we think

The main reasons to plump for NOW Broadband's Full Fibre 100 are twofold: It's very cheap, and you won't have to go through proper credit checks. Sky may do a soft check, which the vast majority of customers will pass. We say 'may' because try as we might we've been unable to obtain confirmation from either Sky or NOW as to the exact nature of the checks they do. But it should be in line with other NOW Broadband packages where all you need is a credit or debit card for the sign-up process.

Getting a Sky Hub and a very Sky-like Full Fibre services for £25 per month or thereabouts (at the time of writing) is a bit of a steal. But the way NOW and Sky have gone about presenting and selling this package is likely going to be the biggest barrier to entry. It's all just a little more confusing than it needs to be, and unclear to the layperson whether they're going to be a Sky Customer or a NOW customer (it's a bit of both, and that's the problem).

There's also the fact that in signing up you're going to be presented with more fully featured Sky Broadband deals that have a lot more add-ons and options available. We reckon half the folk who go for Full Fibre 100 will end up sidetracked by this and land a tasty Sky deal instead.

Compare NOW Broadband deals

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