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Sky broadband review 2021

By Dan Howdle | Friday, March 26th 2021

4/5

Sky is one of the giants of the broadband (and TV) world with literally millions of subscribers in the UK. But the landscape is changing, and with increasing competition to subscription/satellite TV in the form of streaming services such as Netflix, is Sky's broadband offering still doing the business, or is it falling behind the herd?

Is Sky broadband any good?

Pros

  • Good router
  • Good speeds
  • Awesome TV bundles

Cons

  • Not as fast as Virgin
  • Pricey if not bundling TV
  • High set-up cost

If you want a provider with a track record for good customer service and reliable broadband, then Sky gets a big tick. It offers a good range of broadband speeds for all types of households. However, its set-up costs are on the high side compared to most other providers, and if you aren't planning to bundle Sky TV there are cheaper (and faster) providers.

Having said that, the Sky switch squad will help you manage the whole switch and set you up with some great kit. All-in-all a great provider, but compare all broadband deals carefully if you are just looking for broadband on its own as there will be cheaper options.

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Overview

Download speed 11Mbps, 59Mbps, 145Mbps
Upload speed 1Mbps, 16Mbps, 27Mbps
Broadband ADSL, Fibre, Full Fibre
Home Phone Yes
Prices from £22 per month

Broadband speeds

Sky offers three 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.

Sky Broadband Essential

Sky’s basic 'Essential' package offers download speeds averaging 11Mbps. This modest speed is fast enough for small households with one or two occupants who only stream movies or TV shows to one TV at a time.

So, if you're a couple and your main internet use is watching Netflix together, Sky's 11Mbps ADSL broadband should be fine, so long as you're not watching it in 4K on a 4K TV, in which case you'll need Sky Superfast.

  • Sky Broadband Essential

    Sky
    • 11Mb average speed
    • Unlimited usage
    • PAYG calls
    £25 p/m
    £9.95 one-off cost See Deal

Sky Broadband Superfast

Sky’s 'Superfast' fibre package offers averages of 59Mbps and is ideal for most households. To get an idea of which speed is right for your home, we generally recommend you allocate 10Mbps for each member of the household that uses the internet at the same time as others.

So if you are a family of four, with two or more streaming at once, then 59Mbps should be sufficient to keep everyone connected without any problems.

Sky Broadband Ultrafast

Sky’s premium ‘Ultrafast’ broadband package comes with an average download speed of 145Mbps. 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.

  • Sky Broadband Superfast

    Sky
    • 59Mb average speed
    • Unlimited usage
    • PAYG calls
    £28 p/m
    £9.95 one-off cost See Deal

Upload speeds

It is 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 1Mbps on Sky’s Essential deal, 16Mbps on Sky Superfast and 27Mbps on Ultrafast.

In comparison, BT offers 8Mbps on its Fibre 1 service and 17Mbps on its Fibre 2, while Virgin Media provides just 5Mbps with its 54Mbps service. If you want to get close to 20Mbps upload speed with Virgin Media, you'll need its M200 package.

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Router and installation

Sky Hub

All new Sky broadband customers receive the Sky Hub router, regardless of which broadband package you choose.

Sky Q router

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.

For the full review, see our guide on Sky Hub routers.

Installation

Installation of Sky broadband takes about ten days from the time you order. Sky will write to 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 for £9.95 and there is also likely to be an activation fee.

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 is 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 as well.

Customer service

Sky also does well with customer satisfaction. It has 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 scary side of switching – informing your old provider. If you are moving from BT, TalkTalk, Plusnet or any other provider on Openreach, Sky will manage the whole move for you. Just tell them who your old provider is and it will all get sorted within two weeks.

The exception to this is if you are moving from Virgin Media. Because Virgin runs its own network, you will have to make the cancellation call yourself.

As a bonus, if you want to leave your existing provider before your initial contract term is up and you are facing cancellation fees as a result, Sky will credit you up to £200 when you switch to a Sky package to help you cover the cost.

Features and benefits

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. Here's what makes Sky stand out.

  • Sky Q 'minis' extend the range of your broadband – If you get Sky TV with your broadband, and you get multiroom, you'll be provided with additional Sky Mini hubs. These extend the range of your broadband as well as allow you to enjoy Sky TV in other rooms
  • Sky Broadband Boost – For extra peace of mind, customers can sign up to Sky Broadband Boost to get daily checks on their line and a guarantee of wifi in every room in their house.
  • You can add Sky TV – Although other broadband providers allow you to add some of Sky's services (such as Sky Cinema and Sky Sports) to their TV packages, the only way to gain access to absolutely everything that Sky TV offers – including Sky Atlantic – is to sign up to a Sky TV package.

Deals and offers

Each broadband provider has its own way of enticing new customers. Sky's tack is that it tends to offer a combination of cut-down prices and the odd cashback or voucher – often both at the same time.

This is good in one sense – you get a cheaper price and a little something extra. However, it does make it more difficult to work out exactly what value you're getting from a Sky deal compared to the competition. Below is a sample of deals currently on offer from Sky.

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