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Plusnet broadband vs Sky broadband

By Marc Shoffman | Wednesday, June 2nd 2021

Plusnet and Sky both offer decent broadband services but come from vastly different starting points. One is proud of its Yorkshire roots and support for the local community around Leeds and Sheffield, while the other is a massive global brand.

Plusnet was formed in the mid-90s offering dial-up broadband in the UK, while Rupert Murdoch bought Sky broadband to these shores in 2006. Both are fierce rivals when it comes to speed, customer service and pricing, but how do they really measure up?

Broadband speeds

With the recent introduction of the Advertising Standards Agency ruling, which states that providers must advertise speeds that are available to at least 50% of their customers, it is easier to see who is really offering what. Plusnet customers can get speeds averaging 66Mbps on its top fibre deal – ahead of Sky, which only offers 59Mbps with its single fibre package. Plusnet also offers an entry-level fibre package with average speeds of 36Mbps. Both providers also still offer standard broadband as well, averaging speeds of 10Mbps.

Conclusion

Although both Sky and Plusnet operate over the Openreach network, Plusnet has the edge on speed here with its 67Mbps compared to Sky’s 59Mbps.

Compare Plusnet broadband Compare Sky broadband

Deals and packages

Plusnet offers three packages. You can get Unlimited broadband, Unlimited Fibre and Unlimited Fibre Extra. Its Unlimited package offers speeds averaging 10Mbps (previously advertised as up to 17Mbps). Customers can choose a 12 or 18 month contract. There is no rolling monthly contract available. All deals come with line rental, unlimited usage and the option to add call plans.

Sky provides two packages, albeit with less flexibility on contract length. Sky Broadband Essential offers unlimited usage and download speeds of 10Mbps, whereas Sky Broadband Superfast comes in at an average 59Mbps and is also unlimited. Sky does now also offer a third, Ultrafast Fibre option, with speeds averaging 145Mbps, but it is not widely available.

All Sky broadband deals come with an 18-month contract and pay-as-you-talk as standard, although customers can choose to bolt on call plans if they wish.

Conclusion

Plusnet wins this round by offering attractive packages that give customers an option on contract length.

Customer service

Plusnet has a trophy cabinet bursting with rewards for customer service. It provides support 365 days a year from a UK contact centre.

Plusnet broadband customers are amongst the happiest when it comes to customer service according to industry regulator Ofcom’s latest report into customer satisfaction in the broadband market. Plusnet scored a whopping 93 per cent of satisfied customers, coming top out of all the providers examined in the survey.

Plusnet customers can get in touch with customer services either over the phone on 0800 432 0200, or on live chat on the provider’s website. In addition, Plusnet has an active account on Twitter – Plusnet Help – where customers can ask questions and seek help.

Sky also ranks highly for customer satisfaction and wins awards for its services as well as recognition for how complaints are handled when issues arise. In the most recent Ofcom survey, it scored 86 per cent for overall customer satisfaction, and 62 per cent of customers who had reason to complain were happy with the way their issue was dealt with. In comparison, Plusnet only scored 49 per cent on that front.

Sky operates a seven-days-a-week service as well as live chat online and a telephone contact centre. Customers can get in touch by calling 0333 7591 018 or by sending a message on the provider’s Sky Help team on Twitter.

Conclusion

Another close one. Plusnet pips Sky to the post here when it comes to customer satisfaction overall, as proven by Ofcom’s survey.

Router and equipment

Plusnet’s fibre customers will be sent the Plusnet Hub One. This comes with four Ethernet ports and two wireless antennas for 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz wi-fi connections. Unlimited Broadband customers, however, will get a more basic Hub Zero.

the sky q box

Sky broadband customers now receive the latest dual band Sky Broadband Hub, which has four Ethernet ports, eight antennas for optimum wifi coverage and allows up to 64 devices to be connected wirelessly at the same time. Customers signing up for Sky broadband and TV will receive the Sky Q router.

Conclusion

Sky takes the crown on technology and equipment as all customers will receive the same level of kit, unlike Plusnet which still makes a distinction between those on broadband and those using fibre.

Extras

All Plusnet packages come with online parental control without you needing to download any software. The service is called Plusnet Safeguard and lets you block access to certain websites and select others as safe. You will also get Plusnet Protect security and anti-virus software powered by McAfee, which is free for Unlimited Broadband and Unlimited Fibre Extra broadband customers, but bizarrely is charged at £2 per month for Unlimited Fibre customers.

Once installed on your PC, Plusnet Protect will provide anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-spam protection from malicious software, malicious social networking links and junk email. It uses two-way firewalls to prevent remote hacking access to your PCs and provides protection for up to seven computers.

There are also perks for current Plusnet customers who refer others. Plusnet encourages you to recommend and refer friends and family and will take money off your monthly bill in return. You can earn up to £1.50 a month off your bill for recommending someone else to Plusnet. There is no limit to the amount of people you can refer; you just need to have lots of friends and family and obviously be happy to recommend the service or you may well end up annoying some of your peers.

Sky customers also get security features. You will receive a McAfee Internet Security Suite trial for 12 months to cover three PCs, as well as the Sky Broadband Shield that lets you filter websites and customise your privacy settings into age categories. There is also a nifty watershed feature that allows you to set age rating restrictions depending on the time of day.

Sky customers also get access to the Sky WiFi app. This gives you free and unlimited access to The Cloud wi-fi in over 20,000 popular places across the UK such as coffee shops and bars. It can be used on six registered devices. Many public places will already offer free wi-fi, but this gives you an added option where there is less availability.

Conclusion

Both are pretty similar on safety and security. Plusnet differentiates itself with its refer-a-friend service but you would need to recommend a lot of people before the rewards actually make a significant dent in your bill. You can’t put a price on free security software for all though, so this makes Sky the winner when it comes to the extras.

Overall

Plusnet can be proud of its excellent reputation when it comes to customer service, but Sky offers a more all-round package, with free wifi, a better security software offering and a high standard of router for all its customers. Sky also has its famous TV service for those looking to bundle up broadband with TV, whereas Plusnet no longer offers a TV service at all.

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