Dan Howdle | January 5th, 2024
Sky is one of the giants of the broadband (and TV) world with millions of subscribers in the UK. But is Sky's broadband offering still doing the business, or is it falling behind the herd?
We interviewed 6,000 household broadband decision makers. This is how Sky broadband customers rated their service:
|Value for money
|Likeliness to recommend
If you want a provider with a track record for great value, good customer service and reliable broadband, then Sky gets a big tick. It now offers an excellent range of broadband speeds, so there should be something appropriate for every household. Until quite recently, Sky could sometimes be accused of having quite high set-up costs, but they've taken steps to reduce those (particularly true if you're bundling in TV) and often the set-up and delivery is entirely cost free. And, if you don't need to bundle in Sky TV, and you pick up one of their regular offers (which usually include a free gift), then there aren't really many cheaper providers out there.
Always keen to bring in new users, Sky is well known for making it simple to switch to its services. All-in-all a great provider, but be sure to compare all broadband deals carefully and watch out for their special offers. Sky often has some of the very best around, with pre-paid gift cards, no set-up fees and large price reductions frequently available.
Here’s a quick look at what you can expect to find in a Sky broadband deal.
|Fibre and Full Fibre
|Broadband only, Broadband & phone, Broadband & TV
|£25 per month
Sky offers five broadband packages, all with unlimited usage, so there are no limits on streaming or downloading, and all on an 18-month contract. The only restriction comes from the speed you choose. And these days, some of those speeds are very fast indeed.
Whilst technically not always available to new users (it has to be the only thing you can get where you live to qualify), Sky’s basic ADSL 'Essential' package was, for a long time, its most popular package. No more. And we don't recommend it to anyone who can get a faster package.
This is Sky’s entry-level FTTC broadband package. That's Fibre To The Cabinet, meaning the connection is still using old fashioned telephone wires for part of the journey to your home. The 'Superfast' label is perhaps a little dated now, but back in the day it really was super-fast. You can expect to see speeds with averages of 36Mbps (with a guaranteed minimum of 25Mbps) which, if you're a relatively small household that doesn't do too much streaming and live gaming all at the same time, could be perfectly adequate. But understand that, in 2023, this is very much at the lower end of what you can find in most places. You should see upload speeds of 9Mbps or so.
Sky’s main Superfast fibre package offers averages of 61Mbps and is, frankly, enough for most households. This is probably their most popular package in terms of offering decent speed and widespread availability at an affordable price. To get an idea of which speed is right for your home, we generally recommend you allocate at least 10Mbps for each member of the household that uses the internet at the same time as others. So, if you're a family of four, with two or more streaming at once, then that 61Mbps should be sufficient to keep everyone connected without too many problems. And there's a guarantee you'll see speeds of at least 50Mbps. And as for uploads, you should get about 16Mbps.
Sky’s Ultrafast broadband package comes with an average download speed of 145Mbps, with upload speeds of about 27Mbps. The guaranteed minimum is 100Mbps. This speed is particularly suited to large households where it can support numerous devices constantly connected to the internet and with several people streaming at once. However, FTTP is currently available to less that a third of UK households, so unfortunately most people can't access it. For now.
See Sky Ultrafast.
Offering speeds that are going to be more than enough for almost every household, Ultrafast Plus can get you into the heady hights of half-gig download speeds – thats around 500Mbps, with a guaranteed you'll see a mimimum of 400Mbps. It's also complimented by upload speeds of 60Mbps, which is about as fast as most UK households downloads. Again, this is fibre to the premises, using Openreach's limited – although rapidly expanding – FTTP netowrk. So availability is, for now, a little limited.
You can actually get faster than this (Virgin Media's Gig1 springs to mind), but it's difficult to see why you'd really need to. We can't really imagine what sized household would really need this, but if you absolutely must have the very best (i.e. fastest), then this really is up there. Expect to secure bragging rights over 900Mbps download and 100Mbps upload speeds. Even the guaranteed minimum is 600Mbps. If you can get it where you live.
See Sky Gigafast.
It's also worth checking upload speeds as these give you an idea of how long it will take to put attachments on emails, or upload images and videos. You will get upload speeds of 9Mbps on Sky’s Superfast 35 package, 16Mbps on Sky Superfast and 27Mbps on Ultrafast. Ultrafast Plus and Gigafast offer 60Mbps and 100Mbps respectively.
In comparison, BT offers 9.5Mbps on its Fibre 1 service and 19Mbps on its Fibre 2, so very similar for the more widely available packages. And, perhaps surprisingly, Virgin Media only offers 20Mbps uploads with its M125 service.
All new Sky broadband customers receive the Sky Hub router, regardless of which broadband package you choose.
The Sky Hub lets you connect up to 64 devices at once and has eight built-in antennae to optimise your wifi so you can stay connected no matter what room you are in. It also comes with four gigabit Ethernet ports, so you will benefit from optimal speeds in any wired devices you choose to connect. Unlike other providers such as BT, Vodafone and even Virgin Media, Sky doesn't currently offer an upgrade to a 'premium' unit.
For the full review, see our guide on Sky Hub routers.
Installation of Sky broadband takes about ten days from the time you order. Sky will contact you to confirm an activation date. If you’ve ordered Sky broadband and you don’t have a suitable phone line, then an appointment will be made for an Openreach engineer to come and install a new one before your services are activated.
This could delay your activation, but you can track the whole process online to see when your broadband will start. Sky will send your brand new router in the post, but bear in mind you may be charged for the engineer to visit.
Once the router arrives and your broadband is activated you will need to set it up yourself. Sky provides step-by-step instructions on its website showing how to set up the Sky router and connect your devices either wirelessly or through a wired connection.
It's recommended that you place your router in an open, ventilated space and close to your master phone socket in order to get the best speed. This will most likely be the socket that has an Openreach logo on it or a line in the middle.
If you can’t find a master socket, you can connect your Sky Hub to a convenient socket, but your broadband may not perform quite as well.
Sky does well with customer satisfaction. It's been recognised by the likes of YouGov for its customer service and Ofcom reports also show it ranks as the best provider when it comes to handling complaints well when they arise.
You can contact Sky customer service seven days a week either on live chat between 7am and 11pm or through its telephone contact centre, which is open between 8am and 9pm.
Sky also helps with the more unpleasant side of switching – informing your old provider that you're leaving. If you're moving from BT, TalkTalk, Plusnet or any other provider that uses the Openreach network (which is most of them), Sky will manage the whole thing for you. Just tell them who your old provider is and it should all be sorted within two weeks.
The exception to this is if you're moving from Virgin Media. Because Virgin runs its own network, you will have to make that cancellation call yourself.
Most providers will charge you cancellation fees if you wish to leave whilst still in-contract, and these can be quite hefty depending on how much of your initial contract remains. So, as an added incentive, if you do want to switch to Sky before your existing contract is up, and you're facing costs as a result, Sky will help cover that. They'll credit you up to £100 when you switch to a their broadband service, and up to £200 when switching to Sky a broadband and TV package. That's unique, and we think more providers should do this.
For more details, see our broadband switching guide.
It's fair to say that without the things that make a broadband provider’s offering unique, one broadband service can, in most of the important ways, be much like another. However, here's what makes Sky stand out.
Ultimately, the best reason to choose Sky broadband over competitors such as BT and TalkTalk isn't about the broadband at all. It's the fact that if you want to bundle in your TV services, Sky TV, as a whole, can’t be really be fully integrated in a more cost efficient way. That's doubly true now that Sky is moving away from delivering TV via satellite dish and towards streaming TV via broadband. Sure you can get a lot of Sky’s channels on Virgin Media or BT, or you can stream Sky via NOW TV. However, key elements are missing from those alternatives, from some of the best channels to overall picture quality.
Sky Broadband offers a similar quality router, speeds and service to BT – largely due to them both using the Openreach FTTC and FTTP networks. So its speeds are very similar. Customer service and reliability are also on a par. So whether you choose Sky Broadband really does come down to just how many Sky services you want in your household. It simply excels in offering the most comprehensive bundles.
Finally, if you're just looking for broadband (although you'll still have to have a phone line too!), Sky is now one of the best value providers in the UK – if you make sure to pick up one of their special offers, with various price reductions and giftcards thrown in. There are usually several available, but watch out, they can sometimes change on a daily basis!
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