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Sky broadband review

By Dan Howdle
Monday, April 1st 2019
4/5

Sky is one of the giants of the broadband world with millions of subscribers in the UK. The company is part of Rupert Murdoch's empire and has a solid reputation in the home telecoms industry. But is it any good?

Overview

Average download speed 11Mbps, 35Mbps, 63Mbps
Average upload speed 1.3Mbps, 9.5Mbps, 19Mbps
Broadband ADSL, Fibre
Home Phone Yes
Prices from £22.50 per month

Broadband speeds

Sky offers three packages, all with unlimited usage, so there are no limits on streaming or downloading. The only restriction comes from the speed you choose.

Its basic 'Broadband Unlimited' package offers download speeds averaging 11Mbps and comes on an 18-month contract. This is fast enough for small households with one or two occupants who only stream movies or TV to one TV at a time.

Sky’s mid-range Fibre Unlimited deals offer download speeds averaging 36Mbps while the premium Fibre Max offers averages of 63Mbps – both the fibre contracts last for 18 months.

The numbers themselves may very well be somewhat meaningless to you. So to get an idea of which is right for you, 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're a couple, say, 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 something faster.

If you're a family of four however, and everyone tends to be online at the same time doing different things – streaming, gaming, browsing, using social media and so on – following the 10Mbps per person rule should be plenty. If you need more speed later on, no provider is going to mind if you upgrade.

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 1.3Mbps on Sky’s Broadband Unlimited deal, 9.5Mbps on Unlimited Fibre and 19Mbps on Fibre Max.

In comparison, BT offers 1Mbps with its standard broadband, 9.5Mbps on its Superfast Fibre 1 (previously BT Infinity 1) and 19Mbps on its Superfast Fibre 2 (previously Infinity 2), while Virgin Media provides just 3Mbps with its 54Mbps service. If you want to get close to 20Mbps upload speed, you have to sign up to Virgin's most expensive VIVID 350 package.

Compare Sky broadband deals

Deals and offers

Each broadband provider has its own way of enticing new customers. Sky's tack is 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.

Router and installation

Router

Sky used to provide its basic broadband customers with the Sky Hub and Fibre users got the more pristine Sky Q Hub. Now everyone gets the same premium router when signing up as a new customer.

Sky Q router

The Sky Q Hub lets you connect up to 64 devices at once and uses its own Smart Signal Technology to optimise your wi-fi connection and create hotpots around the home so you can stay connected no matter what room you are in.

It also comes with a handy four ethernet ports, unlike its predecessor which had only two.

Installation

Installation of Sky broadband takes about two weeks 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 routers 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 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 or Plusnet, Sky’s Switch Squad 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.

Features and benefits

It's fair to say that without those things that make a broadband providers' 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 switch squad – Sky's dedicated team ensures that the switch process goes smoothly and hassle-free, taking ownership of any problems, providing clear communication and managing things so there is no down time when switching off your old services and switching on the new
  • Fibre Max speed guarantee – Sky will guarantee, once it has quoted you your expected speed (this differs from one household to another) that your speed will not fall below it during the first 30 days. If it does you can claim back your first month's payment, along with any up front costs paid
  • You can add Sky TV – Although there are other providers with TV boxes that allow you to add some of Sky's services (Sky Cinema, Sky Sports), there are no others that allow you to add Sky TV to its fullest extent, including Sky Atlantic and so on

Our final verdict

The good

  • Good router
  • Decent speeds
  • Awesome TV bundles

The bad

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

If you want a supplier 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, 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 getting just broadband on its own.

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