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BT broadband vs Sky broadband

By Steve McCaskill | Wednesday, May 19th 2021

Sky and BT are two of the biggest names in British broadband, each offering a range of standard and superfast packages to suit virtually every need.

BT needs no introduction, having offered communications services to consumers for decades, while Sky is best known for the satellite television service it has offered since the early 1990s. In 2006, Sky introduced its broadband services, and competition has become fierce between the two providers since then.

If you’re after a TV service to go with your broadband, then the equation is a little bit more complex, but if it’s a straight shoot-out on broadband then the two are evenly matched. So which one of these heavyweights is right for you?

Broadband speed

Both BT and Sky use the Openreach network to deliver their respective broadband connections. Both offer unlimited standard broadband, which is slower and less predictable than fibre, with speeds averaging 10Mbps.

If you need something more rapid, then you should go for a superfast service which uses fibre cables for at least part of the connection, boosting speeds and reliability. It’s here where there is some variation between BT and Sky.

Sky now only offers one fibre speed: 59Mbps. In contrast, BT offers an entry-level unlimited fibre package, Superfast Fibre Essential, averaging 36Mbps, and two top-level Superfast Fibre packages, averaging 50Mbps and 67Mbps respectively.

BT also offers ultrafast broadband which comes in four speeds – 100Mbps, 300Mbps, 500Mbps and 900Mbps. The catch? Availability across the country is extremely limited at present. Sky also has an ultrafast offering which is equally hard to come by, and it only reaches a paltry 145Mbps against BT’s 900Mbps.


BT has the edge on speed here, both with its widely available faster fibre speed of 67Mbps, and with its ultrafast offering, which blows even Sky’s ultrafast speed out of the water.

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Deals and packages

Sky and BT both offer unlimited ‘standard’ packages with 10Mbps broadband. For Sky customers, this means an 18-month contract, and for BT customers, it is 24 months’ commitment.

Sky Broadband Essential – now its only fibre package – which promises an average of 59Mbps, comes with a minimum 18-month term. However, BT’s Fibre Essential, Fibre 1 and Fibre 2 packages are all now subject to 24-month contracts.

Regardless of which company you sign up for, line rental is included in the headline cost, and thanks to recent Ofcom legislation, when you sign up with BT or Sky you just need to tell your new provider that you are planning to switch. They’ll tell your old provider and then both will write to you to confirm the details.

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Sky wins. Although it only offers one fibre package and one standard broadband package, the 18-month contracts trump the somewhat excessively-long two years currently required by all BT packages.

Customer service

This is where things get a bit more interesting. Sky receives the fewest complaints of any UK broadband provider, According to Ofcom, which says the company gets 21 per 100,000 customers – less than half the industry average of 52. Meanwhile, BT 50 complaints to Ofcom per 100,000 customers.

When it comes to customer satisfaction, Sky and BT are neck and neck, with 86 per cent of subscribers saying they are satisfied with their service overall for both providers.

When it comes to complaints handling, Sky wins again, with 62 per cent of customers happy with how their issue was dealt with, compared to 57 per cent of BT customers. This is against a sector average of 53 per cent.

BT wins hands down however when it comes to call waiting times, with BT customers waiting an average of just 55 seconds for their call to be answered, compared to two minutes and 28 seconds for Sky customers.


Overall Sky has the superior customer service and its customers tend to be happier with how any grievances are dealt with.

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Router and technology

Once more, there is little to choose between the two. With Sky you get the Sky Broadband Hub router when you also sign up to Broadband Boost, which has smart signal technology to optimise the wireless connection and can connect up to 64 devices at once. It also has eight antennae which will provide a good wifi signal, and four gigabit ethernet ports so you can connect up to four wired devices to get the optimum speed.

Standard broadband customers who do not wish to sign up for the Broadband Boost will receive Sky’s slightly older Sky Hub router.

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In comparison, the BT Smart Hub promises the UK’s best wi-fi connection. Like the Sky Broadband Hub, it supports multiple frequencies, and claims its seven antennas allow for better coverage. It also has four Ethernet ports for wired connections.


There’s little to choose between the two in terms of equipment, but Sky pips BT to the post with its slightly superior Broadband Hub, although this is only available if you also sign up for Broadband Boost.


If you opt for Sky broadband then you’ll get access to the Sky Wi-Fi nationwide network of hotspots, allowing you to use your laptop while you’re out and about, or to save your mobile data allowance. But this is matched by BT, which will give you free access to the vast BT Wi-Fi network.

But with BT Broadband you get subsidised BT Sport to watch online (it's often free for the first few months), or completely free if you also sign up to BT TV.


If sport is a priority for you, then BT is the clear winner with either cheap or free BT Sport for all BT broadband customers. When it comes to free wi-fi, Sky and BT are equally matched.


There really isn’t much difference in terms of the level of service you can expect from either provider, so it may ultimately come down to price. If you plan on taking out a mobile or TV subscription, it pays to see what bundles are available, and from time to time, BT Reward Cards that effectively offer cash back in your pocket are available.

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