Sky broadband review 2018
| Marc Shoffman | Thursday, June 28th 2018
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 a 12-month contract.
Sky’s mid-range Sky Fibre Unlimited deal offers download speeds averaging 36Mbps while the premium Fibre Max offering averages 63Mbps – both the fibre contracts last for 18 months.
The Mbps measure only really makes sense to computer geeks. So in real language, Sky says its Unlimited Broadband will let you download an episode of your favourite TV programme in 3 minutes and 23 seconds or a film in 7 minutes and 14 seconds. It would take 1 minute and 25 seconds to download that TV episode on Fibre Unlimited or 43 seconds on Fibre Max. The movie would be with you in 3 minutes and 3 seconds on Fibre Unlimited and 1 minute and 31 seconds using Fibre Max.
These are pretty standard download speeds; you will get the same offers with most other providers. BT is one exception, offering an average of 50Mbps for its mid-tier speed rather than 36Mbps. Virgin Media is the only other exception, offering speeds up to 362Mbps on its own network.
Download speed is just one of the numbers to look out for as it tells you how smoothly you can stream the latest shows and how much waiting you could face.
Check the upload speeds too
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 50Mbps. If you want to get close to 20Mbps upload speed, you have to sign up to Virgin's most expensive VIVID 350 package.
Once you have ordered your broadband package, 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 the whole process can be tracked 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 near your master phone socket to get the best speed. (This will most likely be the socket that has an Openreach logo on it or a line 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. All new customers now receive the Sky Q Hub, whatever package they are on.
You need to plug it in and give it at least two minutes to start up until its lights stop blinking and you see three green lights at the front. Your hub may also need to download software in the first 20 minutes or so when it is starting up, which could slow down your connection temporarily.
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.
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 has just two.
Sky regularly ranks well in Ofcom ratings for customer satisfaction with a broadband service. It scored 88% in 2017, just behind Virgin Media at 90%.
Sky displays its average download speeds so you can get a better idea of how reliable the service is even before you buy it. When you purchase broadband and find the speed wasn’t as expected it can be very frustrating, so this gets Sky a pat on the back for honesty.
Sky will also refund your service charges if you are unhappy with your broadband in the first 30 days. If you do stick with the service once activated, Sky customers also get access to wi-fi hostpots in public areas such as restaurants and cafes.
Sky also does well for for 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 older 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.
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.
Sky will even help manage the whole switch for you and set you up with some great kit. All-in-all a great provider no matter which service you provide.
How to compare Sky broadband deals
Our comparison page is the best way to see every Sky broadband deal in one place. We list the deals by monthly price, from the cheapest price to the highest. Click on the deal name if you see a package you fancy and we’ll give you more information in a separate box. Once you’ve perused the deals, it’s only a matter of a single click to get started with your new Sky broadband service. Click on the blue ‘See Deal’ button to the right of your chosen deal to be taken to the provider’s website.
Don’t leap straight into a package just yet. Before you click, you need to check availability. Not every service may be available in the street where you live, so you need to check before you buy to avoid disappointment. We’ve made this super-easy. Simply head to the top of this page and enter your postcode and phone number in our Sky availability checker (it has a big green ‘check’ button next to it). When you press the green button, we’ll tell you if you can get Sky’s broadband services in your area.
Not all broadband packages are equal. Some are faster than others, offering quicker downloads and uploads. The fastest broadband deals are fibre optic. Fibre is the newest broadband technology and can give you download speeds averaging 58Mbps. That’s fast enough for downloading everything from high definition (HD) movies to the newest videogames.
Basic broadband may be better for you if you’re not too interested in high speeds and downloading HD movies. It’s cheaper too. Standard broadband with an average speed of 10Mbps is still fast enough for watching films and listening to music online. You might have trouble if there are more than a couple of you using the same connection at once, however.
Sky phone and broadband
Phone plans are included with Sky’s broadband packages. They come in four forms. The default plan, Pay as you Talk, charges you at the standard rate for the calls you make. Talk Evenings & Weekends Extra gives you inclusive calls to UK mobiles and landlines on evenings and weekends for £4 per month.
Chatterboxes may prefer the benefits of Talk Anytime Extra. This lets you stay on top of all the family gossip with free calls at any time, any day of the week for £8 per month. Finally, the Talk International Extra plan will suit those with friends and family abroad, with inclusive calls to 50 popular international destinations for £12 per month.
Reasons to choose Sky broadband
Sky Unlimited broadband means your usage won’t be limited, and your download and upload speeds won’t be artificially slowed. As you can imagine, this is useful for streaming movies and playing online games, where consistent performance is key.
High customer satisfaction
According to annual reports by our friends at Ofcom, Sky has had above average levels of customer satisfaction since 2009. In fact, it has the highest percentage of customer satisfaction of any fixed-line broadband provider in the UK. This is reassuring if you’re worried about problems cropping up in the future.
There are some great extras
Sky broadband customers get some fantastic bonuses. The best of these are the thousands of Sky Wi-Fi Hotspots. These are wireless areas – often in cafés – that let you get online with your mobile device or laptop. To take advantage of these, you can visit one of the thousands of Sky wi-fi hotspots in the UK and log in to the Cloud with your Sky account details. This will give you free, unlimited access to the internet at that hotspot on up to six registered devices.
Another useful extra is the security and parental control software Sky Broadband Shield, which protects your computer from viruses and your family from unsuitable content.
Pros & cons
- Fast standard and fibre broadband speeds
- Truly unlimited broadband on most packages
- Consistently high customer satisfaction
- Expensive installation costs on some packages
- Small usage limit on Sky's capped package
- Fibre broadband has limited availability
Deciding on the right deal for you
Fibre broadband is designed for those who want to push the limits of their broadband service. If you love streaming HD movies, playing online games, or downloading big files, fibre is designed for you. There are two fibre broadband speeds available from Sky. The lower-speed 36Mbps packages are cheaper than the faster 586Mbps packages. Which speed is right for you will depend on how you use the internet. Our guide to internet data usage can give you a clearer picture.
Take an anytime call plan if you use the phone frequently
Anytime Calls are perfect if you enjoy catching up with friends and family over the phone. The anytime nature of the plan means you don’t have to wait until evening to make those calls. You won’t be charged for making calls outside the designated ‘inclusive’ hours either, as there aren’t any. Anytime really does mean anytime. One slight drawback involves the length of individual calls. You’re limited to 60 minutes for each call – after that, you’ll be charged the standard rate. It’s easy to get around this. Simply hang up and redial before those 60 minutes are up to avoid incurring any extra charges.
Long contracts may not be right for you
Sky’s fibre broadband packages are all subject to 18-month contracts. This may be too long for you. If you want a shorter contract you can choose the basic broadband option – Sky Broadband Unlimited. This is subject to a 12-month contract. It’s not easy to leave a broadband provider when you’re in contract with them. If you try to switch before the minimum term is up, you will have to pay termination fees. These can be very expensive, so be sure you can commit to a contract before you sign up.
What to remember
The best deals are reserved for new customers. If you’re switching to Sky from another provider, you’ll find plenty of money-saving deals to tempt you. These change frequently, so it’s worth checking back to see what’s new if the current offers don’t appeal. If you’re an existing customer looking to upgrade, it’s better to phone Sky broadband customer service. Haggling for a better deal over the phone could net you some great deals.
How to choose a Sky broadband deal
After you’ve decided what deal is best for you, simply click the blue ‘see deal’ button to start your broadband adventure. This will take you to Sky’s website, with your chosen deal on the page ready to be added to your shopping basket. From there, Sky will lead you by the hand through the rest of the checkout process and you’ll have your Sky broadband service up and running in no time.
The most important factor to remember when considering Sky broadband is why you need broadband. If you have a large number of wireless devices being used in your household then a high speed connection is important, but if you have less demand for speed then you don't want to be paying for a service you don't need. You should always bear in mind that you could be better off bundling broadband with a TV and home phone package.