Phil Wilkinson-Jones | November 11th, 2021
If you’re thinking of joining Sky either for TV or broadband, it’s a good idea to know ahead of time what the process is, what it involves and how long you’re likely to wait. We have all the info right here.
Picking out a new broadband or TV deal is easy thanks to Cable.co.uk's comparison tools, but it's only the first part of the process. Getting new services up and running in your home requires the installation of hardware in the form of a router, a set top box, sometimes new cables, and in Sky's case, a satellite dish.
Every broadband and TV provider does things differently and Sky has always stood out from the crowd, not least because of the big old dish you'll need to have mounted on the side of your house. In this guide we'll take a look at the installation process for Sky whether you're going for broadband only, TV only or both broadband and TV.
Sky, like most broadband providers in the UK, uses the Openreach broadband network to provide its services. The upshot of this is that if you are switching to Sky from another provider on the Openreach network (this is pretty much everyone apart from Virgin Media) then you already have the right cables running to your property. Sky will simply take over the running of your phone line from your current provider. In this case, installation usually takes about two weeks and is free.
If you don't already have an Openreach telephone line running to your property, Sky will arrange this to happen for you. It will require an engineer to visit, but they will try to get things up and running from outside your home wherever possible. In this kind of situation, you can expect installation to take at least three weeks. To install a new phone line, Sky will also charge you something in the region of £20.
As well as a telephone line running into your home, you'll also need a router to get Sky broadband up and running. Sky now offers just two routers – the Sky Broadband Hub and the Sky Q Hub – and they are usually sent out in the post for you to set them up yourself. The router you get will depend on the broadband package you sign up for.
Whether you are signing up for a broadband-only deal or a TV and broadband deal, you'll get either the Sky Broadband Hub or the Sky Q Hub. The Sky Broadband Hub can theoretically handle gigabit speeds, support up to 64 connected devices, has dual band wifi, four ethernet ports and eight wifi antennae to give you a good wifi signal throughout your home. It comes as standard with Sky's ultrafast fibre optic broadband packages. With other broadband packages, you get the Sky Q Hub as standard and can upgrade to the newer Sky Broadband Hub by adding Sky Broadband Boost for an extra monthly fee.
Whichever router you get, actually installing it is pretty simple. On the day of activation, take it out of the box, plug it into both the mains and into your telephone socket. It'll take a few minutes for your router to boot up. When it's ready, the power, internet and wifi lights will all turn green.
Sky offers a number of attractive deals that bundle TV, phone and broadband together and many people enjoy the convenience of having all these services from one provider. Unlike some other TV providers, you will definitely need an engineer to come and set up and Sky TV. Despite reports dating back to 2018 that Sky is soon to launch a version of Sky Q that doesn't require a satellite, you do still need a dish in order to get Sky TV.
If you already have a dish, a Sky TV engineer will adjust it and replace the LNB (the part of the satellite that the cables connect to) as part of the Sky Q installation. If your dish is an older model, you may have to upgrade it to get Sky Q, although it may still be good enough for the older Sky+ platform. If you don't already have a satellite dish, you'll need to get one installed. Talk to Sky during the sign-up process as they may be able to offer you discounted satellite installation, otherwise there'll be local satellite companies in your area able to do this, generally for about £150-£200.
The Sky engineer that makes sure your satellite is all set up and pointing in the right direction will also get your Sky Q box up and running so you can start enjoying your multitude of channels and box sets as soon as they've gone. They will also set up any Sky Q Mini boxes you've ordered to go in other rooms around the house.
When it comes to the broadband part of your Sky installation, the engineer will do as much as possible to get this up and running from outside your home – the router will be sent to you in the post and if you already have an Openreach telephone line then getting connected should be pretty straightforward.
The router you get with a Sky TV and broadband bundle is the Sky Q Hub. This is a router specifically designed to work with the Sky Q set-top box and uses it to boost your wifi signal. It also works with any Sky Q mini boxes you have installed in other rooms to maximise wifi coverage throughout your home. The specs on the hub aren't quite as high-end as the newer Sky Broadband Hub but with dual band wifi, support for up to 64 connected devices, five wifi antennae and two ethernet ports, it’s still a good bit of hardware.
The installation of both TV and broadband should take about two weeks from your order and could cost up to £60 depending on what the engineer needs to do – not including the cost of having a new satellite dish installed.
You can order Sky TV without taking broadband from Sky, but you will need a broadband connection (from any provider you like) if you want to make the most of all the features Sky TV has to offer. You'll also need a satellite dish installed on a south-facing wall of your house. If you don't already have one, then Sky may be able to offer you installation as part of setting up your TV services. There will also be local satellite companies in your area that can help.
If you live in rented accommodation, you'll need to get permission from the landlord before having a dish installed, as you would before having any holes drilled in the walls to allow for cables to enter the property. If you live in a block of flats, it may be that your home has access to a shared satellite – this will also be sufficient and means you won't need to install a dish of your own.
A visit from a Sky TV engineer is required to get Sky Q up and running. The engineer will check that everything is ok with the dish and will set up both the Sky Q set-top box and any Sky Q Mini boxes you may have ordered. The whole visit shouldn't take much longer than an hour and you can expect this to happen within a couple of weeks of placing your Sky TV order. Your viewing card will be sent to you in the post, and everything else will be taken care of on the day of your engineer visit.
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Sky encourages its customers to use the troubleshooting guides on its website before booking an engineer visit, as you'll often find you can fix the problem yourself with the right help. If this doesn't sort it, you can book an appointment by calling Sky customer services on 0333 7591 018.
Sky announced in 2018 that it was working on a version of the Sky Q box that doesn't require a dish, but that hasn't appeared yet. The closest you can currently get is a NOW TV subscription, which doesn’t require a dish and gives you TV box sets, movies, Sky Sports, reality TV or kids shows depending on the package you sign up for.
In most cases, it takes about two weeks to get Sky broadband or TV installed unless there's a problem with your telephone line (or you need a new one installed), in which case it's going to be a bit longer.
Sky offers a live chat service on its website. There's also a troubleshooting section and if that doesn't answer your query, your best bet is to give customer services a call or get in touch via social media.
If you're with another provider that uses the Openreach broadband network (BT, TalkTalk, EE, Plusnet etc) then yes, all you need to do is place an order with Sky and they'll do the rest. If you're with Virgin Media, you will need to tell them you're leaving and arrange a date for your services to cease.