BT Infinity vs Sky fibre broadband
They're not only two of the biggest names in UK broadband, but also they both offer super-fast fibre connections. So if you're trying to choose between BT and Sky, what do you need to know?
Our impartial and detailed head-to-head guide reveals who wins when it comes to speed, availability, download limits and more, so you can make a more informed choice between these two broadband heavy hitters.
In this guide...
At a glance
Speed & usage
On paper, BT offers up to 300Mbps connections with their ultrafast Infinity 4 service, but we've yet to find anyone able to receive this top speed. As a result, the fastest optimum speed that we've found from BT that's actually available to a reasonable number of consumers is up to 76Mbps. With these speeds, the provider estimates that you'd be able to download an album in around four seconds, and a feature-length HD movie in around 10 minutes.
Sky’s fibre service can clock in at up to 76Mbps, which is generally the top optimum speed for most fibre packages in the UK (with the exception of those carried on Virgin Media's cable network). If that's a bit too speedy for your tastes, there's a slower and lower priced tier of fibre broadband available from Sky, which has optimum downloads of 38Mbps.
Up to 76Mbps
Up to 19Mbps
40GB & Unlimited
Fair usage policy
Up to 76Mbps
Up to 19Mbps
Fair usage policy
There are three BT fibre-optic broadband packages; BT Infinity 1 (up to 38Mbps with 20GB usage cap), Unlimited BT Infinity 1 (up to 38Mbps with unlimited data usage), and Unlimited BT Infinity 2 (up to 76Mbps with unlimited data).
BT also offers packages for its high speeds of 160Mbps and 300Mbps, but these won’t be advertised until a greater proportion of customers on the network can actually access the speeds. Alongside the monthly cost, you’ll also have to take on line rental. Standard BT line rental costs £16.99 each month.
There are three Sky fibre broadband packages, Sky Fibre Broadband (up to 38Mbps with 25GB usage limit), Sky Fibre Unlimited (up to 38Mbps with unlimited usage) and Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro (up to 76Mbps with unlimited data). Whichever package you go for, you'll pay £16.40 per month line rental.
Are Sky fibre and BT Infinity available in my area?
Industry watchdog Ofcom last released complete broadband customer satisfaction statistics and found that BT had an average satisfaction rate of 60%, with the sector average rated 69%.
In comparison to BT, Sky had an average customer satisfaction rate of 75%. Sky has consistently scored above average in a number of areas and have done well at keeping customers happy.
Technology and equipment
The BT Home Hub 5 features smart power-saving modes which switch the device to an electricity bill pleasing low energy consumption mode when not being used.
It also searches to find you the least congested wi-fi channel so you can get the quietest connection possible where you are. You'll get multiple simultaneous connections, either via Ethernet ports or wi-fi. BT also make a point of highlighting how the Home Hub fits through average letterboxes when delivered.
The Sky Hub is taller and deeper than the BT alternative, but almost half the width. Like the Home Hub, it also boasts a power-saving mode which reduces the amount of power used when not in use, will automatically scan for the quietest wi-fi channel and let you connect either wirelessly or via an Ethernet cable.
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As a BT broadband customer you’ll get free and unlimited access to public wi-fi at 5 million UK hotspots.
When you sign up for BT Infinity, you’ll be able to watch BT Sport 1 online entirely for free. If you want to watch the other BT Sport channels (BT Sport Europe, BT Sport 1 and 2, and BT Sport ESPN) you need to purchase the BT Sport Pack, which costs £5 per month. This is a great benefit for sport fans, as you can watch football matches without having to sign up for BT TV. In addition, the BT NetProtect Plus security package is provided free to all unlimited BT Infinity customers, and features anti-virus, firewall and content-blocking controls.
All Sky unlimited broadband packages include unlimited access to public wi-fi at Cloud hotspots, but bear in mind that there are currently just 20,000 of these throughout the UK – fewer than the BT alternative. Sky updated their security software in late 2013 to roll out their Broadband Shield package – free for broadband customers. It gives consumers the option of blocking categories of content or alternatively filter sites by age. The limits that are set are then applied to any devices that use the home connection, whether it's a PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet.
At first glance, the up to 300Mbps headline speed could make BT an attractive option – but the lack of widespread availability means the majority of consumers won't be able to benefit from these ultrafast connections. However, with BT you can get speeds of up to 76Mbps and a number of extras including free BT Sport 1 and public wi-fi hotspots.
Bring TV into the equation and Sky is light years ahead. The only thing to really separate BT from Sky is a small difference in price. Since it's carried on the BT Openreach network, you should find that if you can get BT Infinity, then you can get Sky fibre too.
And don't forget, Cable.co.uk now produces in-depth broadband reviews of every major UK broadband package, so check them out if you need more information.
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