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BT fibre broadband vs Sky fibre broadband

By Marc Shoffman | Thursday, June 10th 2021

Fibre is an important part of our internet diet these days, and BT and Sky are two of the biggest providers in the fibre broadband market. So how do you choose between these two giants of the home telecoms industry?

BT and Sky are two of the best-known broadband providers in the UK. They both use the Openreach network for their cabling and offer varying speeds and packages. Slight differences emerge also when it comes to download limits, customer service, technology and the all-important extras. Here’s how the two heavyweights stack up against each other.

Broadband speed

Sky offers just one fibre speed, averaging 59Mbps. In contrast, BT starts with 36Mbps, but also offers 50Mbps and 67Mbps speeds, thereby offering a faster top speed than Sky, and more choice.

The download speed is important so you know how well you can stream TV or get your pictures and music. But you also want to be able to send emails and open webpages fast and that is where the upload speed comes in. Both have similar rates for uploads, with BT averaging 9Mbps for its entry-level fibre option and 18Mbps for the top speed, and Sky offering 16Mbps with its single fibre package.

Conclusion

Speed is the name of the game when it comes to your broadband choice. BT wins here by offering a higher entry-level speed, and also for a higher premium fibre speed – 67Mbps on average against Sky's 59Mbps.

Compare BT broadband

Compare Sky broadband

Packages

Sky now offers only one fibre package. Sky Broadband Superfast comes with speeds averaging 59Mbps and no usage restrictions.It comes on an 18-month contract, with pay-as-you-go calls as standard and a 12-month free trial of McAfee anti-virus software.

sky q box with sky q hub

BT has a bit more choice by offering three unlimited fibre options, Fibre Essential with 36Mbps download speeds, Fibre 1 (previously BT Infinity 1) with average speed of 50Mbps and Fibre 2 (Infinity 2) which averages 67Mbps. All BT’s packages come on an 18-month contract, and you can choose whether to have an active landline or not. If you do want to be able to make calls from your landline, pay-as-you-go calls are included as standard or you can bolt on anytime calls.

Conclusion

BT does better for choice than Sky, with three speed options rather than two. BT's average top speed pips Sky to the post, and BT also offers the choice to have a landline or not.

Customer service

Sky ranks highly for customer satisfaction and regularly gets awards for its work. The latest industry data from Ofcom shows Sky and BT both ranked well for customer satisfaction with 86% of customers saying they were satisfied with their service. Sky had just 21 complaints per 100,000 customers compared with 50 at BT.

The average percentage of customers with reason to complain across broadband providers was 12%, and Sky’s own figures show it is bang on average at 12% while BT’s was just 10%. When complaints did arise, 62% were happy with how Sky dealt with them (the best overall), but that figure falls to 57% for BT. Sky customers face a 2 minute 28 second wait when attempting to get through to the call centre while BT’s average time on hold was measurably better at just 55 seconds. For the sake of comparison, the average across the sector was 2 minutes 10 seconds.

If you do need to get in touch, Sky operates a seven-days-a-week customer service. Customers can access live chat online between 8.30am and 8pm or call the contact centre between 8am and 8pm. BT’s phone helpline is open Monday to Friday 8am to 9pm and 8am to 8pm at weekends and the live chat service is available seven days a week from 7am to 11pm. Both providers are also contactable via social media on Twitter.

Conclusion

There is very little to choose between the two when it comes to standards of customer service. Sky’s reputation for dealing with customer problems is better than BT’s however, giving it the lead in this area.

Router and equipment

Both offer pretty nifty technology. BT fibre customers get a Smart Hub, kitted out with seven antennas that locate the best frequencies for the top speeds and are also set up to cope with faster speeds in the future, so if BT brings out improved packages you won’t need a new router. The hub has an energy-saving mode when not in use and also constantly monitors your internet connection and if it spots a problem, it will quietly reboot and make a fresh connection.

In addition to the Smart Hub, customers can also sign up for BT Hybrid Connect. For an extra monthly fee, BT customers will receive a second mini router, powered by EE broadband, that will automatically kick in if your fibre broadband goes down, ensuring you have a constant connection.

A third piece of tech on offer from BT is the wifi extender, supplied to customers signing up for BT’s Complete Wifi scheme. This increases the reach of your wifi throughout your home, and BT is so convinced it works that it offers a £100 money back guarantee if it doesn’t.

bt smart hub

Sky fibre customers get equally good equipment with the Sky Broadband Hub router. It has four gigabit ethernet ports, eight antennas, plus you can connect up to 64 devices. It is designed to save energy and will automatically switch to low power mode when not in use.

Like BT, Sky also offers some additional tech to improve your home wifi. The Sky Broadband Booster works as a wifi extender, increasing the reach of your home wifi. Sky claims that if it doesn’t work, it will refund the cost, providing a reassuring guarantee.

Conclusion

Both are pretty neck-and-neck on tech. They get green points for energy saving and the ability to connect a multitude of devices, as well as for the optional wifi extending tech. BT just takes this one as it offers its mini 4G router to keep you online even if your fibre connection goes down, albeit at extra cost.

Extras

Sky customers receive a McAfee Internet Security Suite trial for 12 months as well as the Sky Broadband Shield that lets you filter websites and customise your privacy settings into age categories. You can also use its helpful watershed feature that lets you set age-rating restrictions depending on the time of day.

Sky customers also get access to the Sky WiFi app while on the move. This gives an added option to the often slow public wi-fi available and provides free and unlimited wi-fi in thousands of popular places across the UK such as coffee shops. It can be used on six registered devices.

It is worth keeping an eye on Sky deals as it often has incentives such as cashback or other rewards.

BT offers similar extras such as virus protection with BT Virus Protect (also powered by McAfee) and you can get up to 1000GB of storage in the BT Cloud depending on which fibre package you choose. BT customers also get free access to five million BT Wi-fi hotspots around the UK.

Conclusion

get a deal with free BT Sport.

Overall

You used to be able to get more speed for your money with BT as its entry-level unlimited fibre 50Mbps broadband started with a faster target than Sky, but now with Sky only offering one fibre package, it is faster than BT's entry-level deals.

BT falls behind slightly on customer satisfaction compared with Sky, but then brings itself back into contention with technology and its extras such as public wi-fi and BT Sport. Both providers offer top TV deals to add onto their broadband services, but if you are just looking for a reliable fibre provider, BT offers greater choice and a faster top speed.

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