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Sky broadband vs TalkTalk broadband

By Aaron Howdle | Wednesday, June 2nd 2021

On paper, both companies offer some pretty similar services. TalkTalk stakes its reputation on providing a decent service at an affordable price, whereas Sky has seen its market share increase over the years, spreading out from its satellite TV origins to become a major player in the industry.

Rupert Murdoch introduced Sky Broadband to Britain in 2006 after purchasing EasyNet, and since then its market share has grown to 24% in the UK.

TalkTalk started out as a home telephone provider owned by Carphone Warehouse and in 2006, it began offering free broadband to its phone customers. In recent years TalkTalk's market share has dropped, largely as a result of past issues with security.

Broadband speed

Sky offers two speeds of broadband. Its entry-level Broadband Essentials service offers an average speed of 11Mbps. Previously advertised as up to 17Mbps, this is the entry-level speed common to most other broadband providers and is fine for two or three devices.

For households where broadband gets heavier use, or for those who hate waiting for downloads to complete, Sky offers just one fibre package (previously two). Sky Broadband Superfast averages 59Mbps.

TalkTalk's Fast Broadband is advertised as having an average speed of 11Mbps, while its two fibre offerings come with averages of 36Mbps and 63Mbps.

It's worth mentioning that both Sky and TalkTalk also now offer Ultrafast fibre speeds, although the availability is much more limited than the Ultrafast speeds currently available from Virgin Media. Sky offers up to 145Mbps and TalkTalk offers two options – Fibre 150 and Fibre 500.

Neither Sky nor TalkTalk employ traffic management at peak times. This means your internet connection will never be artificially slowed down during busy times of the day.

Conclusion

For most UK customers Sky and TalkTalk offer the same options when it comes to speed. TalkTalk wins here by offering a faster fibre speed than Sky, and a faster Ultrafast package – where available.

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Deals and packages

Sky offers both standard broadband and fast fibre broadband. Sky Broadband Essential is the basic, non-fibre broadband package, with an 18-month minimum contract. It comes with line rental included and a small upfront cost. No calls are included, but you can elect to bolt on a call plan if you want. Choose from Evenings and Weekends, Anytime, or International bolt-ons.

Sky's fibre package comes on an 18-month contract, and again, comes with line rental but no inclusive calls. A set-up fee applies to both Sky’s packages. Sky may decide to put up the price mid-contract, but if it does, you are entitled to leave without penalty if you do so within a month of Sky informing you of the intended price rise.

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In comparison, all three of TalkTalk's packages come on 24-month contracts, come with unlimited usage and include line rental. There are no set-up fees either. Customers that choose Fibre 65 will be able to enjoy unlimited UK calls at no extra cost. Fast Broadband and Fibre 35 customers can choose to add on call packages for an extra monthly fee.

TalkTalk guarantees no price rises during the course of your contract, plus its simple product range offers the same packages to both new and existing customers.

Conclusion

Sky and TalkTalk offer some fairly similar packages (although Sky has one fewer, which makes it arguably simpler), but TalkTalk has a wider choice of speeds, no set-up fees and fixed prices for the length of its contracts. So in this category TalkTalk is the winner.

Customer service

Sky has won a stack of awards for its customer service in the past. However, in the latest Ofcom report. Sky ranked joint third with BT for overall customer satisfaction, behind EE in second place and Plusnet, who came out top. The sector average was just 85 per cent, so this still represents a respectable result. More importantly, of those customers who did have a reason to complain, 60 per cent were satisfied with the way Sky dealt with their issue, putting Sky in second place after EE but ahead of BT, Plusnet, Virgin, and TalkTalk.

Sky provides support with live chat on its website, email, and has a customer care line, open seven days a week. On average, Sky customers wait 2 minute and 28 seconds to have their call answered by customer service, which is marginally slower than the industry average of 2 minutes and 10 seconds. Customers can also get in touch with Sky on Twitter via its Sky Help account.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for TalkTalk, which remains Britain's most complained-about home telecoms provider, according to Ofcom, with just 78 per cent customer satisfaction overall and only 44 per cent of customers satisfied with the way their complaint was handled.

Having said that, TalkTalk offers a customer service line for which customers will only have to wait 39 seconds for a member of staff to answer. There is also a 24/7 web-based chat service to help with problems and also online FAQs you can consult. TalkTalk also has a presence on social media, on both Twitter and Facebook for customers seeking advice and assistance.

Conclusion

Sky wins this one with its higher ratings for customer service. Although not the absolute best in the broadband market according to Ofcom, Sky is way ahead of Talktalk when it comes to customer satisfaction.

Router and Equipment

For Sky Essential Broadband packages, customers will receive the Sky Hub 4 router, whereas Sky fibre customers will be sent Sky’s latest dual-band, flagship router, which will support a wifi connection for up to 64 devices, has eight antennas for optimal wi-fi reach, and four 1Gb Ethernet ports for fast, wired connections.

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TalkTalk provides its latest, new and improved router, the WiFi Hub, to all fibre customers. Like the Sky Broadband Hub, it features dual-band technology and seven antennas that should reduce wireless interference throughout your home, as well as four gigabit Ethernet ports. TalkTalk Fast Broadband customers will be given the slightly less impressive Super Router.

Conclusion

Comparing the two routers, the Sky Broadband Hub has a richer feature set than the new TalkTalk WiFi Hub, but only just.

Extras

Sky's customers receive a range of security features, which include a 12-month free trial of McAfee Internet Security Suite and Sky Broadband Shield. The latter allows users to set up privacy rules and limit content available to different age groups within their household. There is also a watershed feature, which restricts unsavoury content while the kids are still awake.

Sky's customers can also get the Sky Wifi App, which enables access to The Cloud wi-fi hotspots all over the country for up to six devices.

TalkTalk also offers a bunch of security features via its Homesafe system, which provides network-level virus alerts, E-safety advice for parents, and filters to stop undesirable content appearing on the kids’ tablets. It also offers Supersafe as an optional extra, which will protect you from viruses on up to ten devices for £2 per month. This also helps you keep passwords secure and enables you to locate and wipe lost devices.

Conclusion

Both providers offer a good range of security features, but the fact that Sky’s security software is free, along with the free Cloud wi-fi access on offer with Sky's Wifi App clinches it for Sky.

Overall

Sky and TalkTalk offer such a similar set of products that choosing between them can be a difficult choice. Both providers offer excellent routers and the pricing is largely comparable. Where Sky leads however is with its superior customer service history and its free comprehensive security software.

Meanwhile, TalkTalk is still deemed the worst major provider when it comes to customer service. If you live in York, TalkTalk's 1Gb Ultra Fibre Optic is worth a look, but overall Sky is the real winner here.

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