Phil Wilkinson-Jones | November 30th, 2023
With no less than five broadband technologies all competing for your attention among the biggest providers, it's hardly a surprise that naming conventions like Superfast, Ultrafast and Gigafast don't exactly tell the whole story.
In this guide, we're going to take a closer look at the details behind the packages and indeed those buzzy package names.
The one thing that was missing from Sky’s broadband offering up until 18 months or so ago (at the time of writing) was an ultrafast package to compete with Virgin Media, but that's been rectified, for some households at least: Sky's full fibre packages are only available to around a quarter of UK households, while Virgin Media's more established ultrafast network reaches around 60%. Not everyone needs those kinds of speeds of course, and so Sky’s other packages remain popular and useful options.
We know what you’re thinking – ‘show me what I need to know about these Sky Broadband packages in an easy-to-compare table’. Your wish is our command.
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Broadband packages from most of the major providers are more complex to understand than they need to be right now. Older, non-fibre, ADSL broadband is now only available to those who can't get anything else. So-called 'superfast' broadband (FTTC fibre) is available to near everyone, and full fibre (ultrafast) is rolling out as we speak, though your current chances of getting it are only one in four.
It's more confusing than it needs to be, and that situation is only going to change when full fibre is the norm. For now, what you can get is determined by what sort of cables Sky has running through your street (or more specifically which cables Openreach has running through your street). It's easier to understand if you look at each Sky Broadband speed (package) currently available:
Superfast 35 – For some time now, Sky hasn't really offered an entry-level fibre broadband service. Well, they've recently changed that with the introduction of the Broadband Superfast 35 package. Using Openreach's fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, while faster fibre connections are certainly available, its average speeds of 36Mbps are certainly adequate for many households, with useful 9Mbps uploads. So it offers a good compromise of speed vs price.
Superfast – This is Sky’s next-level fibre broadband package and it’s comparable to similar packages offered by rivals such as BT and TalkTalk. Superfast offers average download speeds of 61Mbps and average upload speeds of 16Mbps. That’s enough to stream TV and browse the internet for small to medium households with regular internet usage.
Sky Broadband Ultrafast – Now we're getting into the next-generation fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) services, and this is an entry point into the world of ultra fast broadband, also often referred to as 'full fibre'. With average download speeds of 145Mbps and upload speeds of 27Mbps, it should be enough for most families with heavy internet usage and using multiple connected devices simultaneously.
Sky Broadband Ultrafast Plus – Sky’s near top of the range broadband package promises average download speeds of up to 500Mbps and upload speeds of 60Mbps. These are tasty speeds but much more bandwidth than most households will need. At the time of writing this service is slightly limited in its availability, but that picture is improving all the time. Sky’s Ultrafast Plus is comparable to some of the higher-end packages on offer from likes of Virgin Media.
Sky Gigafast – The absolute top of the Sky's range of broadband packages promises average download speeds of up to 900Mbps and upload speeds of 100Mbps. Massive speeds both ways and easily more than an average household needs. Nevertheless they’re good to have if you can afford them and if you have data-hungry teens to keep happy.
The average download speed you can expect to get from a broadband package is important – it refers to how fast you’ll be able to browse the web, whether you’ll be able to watch Netflix without it buffering and how quickly your devices will download apps and files.
If you upload a lot of videos or other large files to the internet, or if you’re a big gaming fan, then you’ll want to take a look at what upload speed to expect as well.
Sky’s entry-level broadband package Sky Broadband Superfast 35, offers an average download speed of 36Mbps and an average upload speed of 9Mbps. Next up is Broadband Superfast, the mid-level package, which offers average speeds of 61Mbps. Next up is Ultrafast, which promises an average download speed of 145Mbps and an average upload speed of 27Mbps. Sky Broadband Ultrafast Plus, offers an average download speed of 500Mbps and an average download speed of 60Mbps. Finally, Sky’s top broadband package, Sky Gigafast, offers blazingly fast 900Mbps download and 100Mbps upload speeds.
The word 'adequate' probably best sums up the kind of speeds you're likely to see from Broadband Superfast 35. On the face of it, the 36Mbps download speed and 9Mbps uploads don't look so impressive, but in the greater scheme of things it's not such a problem, especially for smaller households. You can, of course, spend more (much more) if you really need to move up to the kinds of speeds offered by the likes of Sky's Ultrafast or even Ultrafast Plus, but for a great many people 36Mbps is all they need, and maybe all they'll ever need. And, of course, that's reflected in the price.
Sky Broadband Superfast 35 comes with the high spec Sky Broadband Hub, replacing the previous Sky Hub and Sky Q Hub.
Offering average download speeds of 61Mbps and 16Mbps uploads, Sky Broadband Superfast should be more than enough speed for small to medium households with reasonable internet usage. We’d really only recommend it if you’ve checked and you just aren’t going to get faster speeds at your address, though. That’s because Sky often has good deals running on its mid-level package Sky Broadband Ultrafast, meaning there’s often very little or no difference when it comes to price.
Sky Broadband Superfast also comes with the high spec Sky Broadband Hub.
This is the Sky broadband package that most people are going to end up going for. It offers a good average download speed of 145Mbps, which is going to be more than enough for most households, including families, to do what they need to do online. That’s multiple devices using the internet, streaming, gaming, the works, and just a little more per month than the entry level package.
As with the Sky Broadband Superfast package, Sky Broadband Ultrafast comes with the newer Sky Broadband Hub and you have the option to add Sky Broadband Boost to your package for a small additional monthly fee. Broadband Boost includes features like the WiFi Guarantee and the Sky Broadband Buddy app.
Sky Broadband Ultrafast Plus, competes with the mid-range ultrafast speeds being offered by Virgin Media. With download speeds of 500Mbps, this should future proof most households as it enables you to have quite a few devices connected to the internet at any one time without anything going on the go-slow. There’s also the speedy 60Mbps upload speed, which is going to be important if you’re moving a lot of big files around when working from home or if you’re serious about your online gaming.
Sky Broadband Ultrafast Plus comes with the newer, updated router, the Sky Broadband Hub, and you have the option to add Sky Broadband Boost to your package for a small additional monthly fee. Broadband Boost includes features like the WiFi Guarantee and the Sky Broadband Buddy app.
Sky Gigafast is the new kid on Sky’s block of broadband offerings. It comes with the latest router, it offers fast download and upload speeds of 900Mbps and 100Mpbs respectively. It’s probably too much for the average household but that said, if you can afford the comfort of such huge bandwidth, why not get it?
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Yes, the Sky Broadband Hub comes as standard all current Sky Broadband packages.
Yes, like the vast majority of broadband packages now, Sky broadband has no download limits.
Sky uses the Openreach network to deliver all of its fibre broadband packages. These are available to the vast majority of UK households. Its Sky Broadband Ultrafast and Gigafast packages are delivered using Openreach’s FTTP (fibre to the premises) network, which at the moment reaches about a quarter of UK premises. If you’re unsure, use our Sky broadband postcode checker.
Sky is a solid and reliable broadband provider. It will rarely compete with the likes of TalkTalk or Plusnet to have the very cheapest broadband deals available but tends to throw in plenty of extras and if you’re a Sky TV customer, or thinking about getting Sky TV, there are other benefits and savings to be had.
Yes, as long as your old provider uses the same Openreach broadband network (most providers do, including BT and TalkTalk). If you’re leaving Virgin Media, however, you’ll have to tell them you’re leaving yourself.