If you’re looking for an inexpensive, truly unlimited broadband package, Sky Broadband Unlimited is a great place to start. The monthly price (inclusive of line rental) is pretty affordable and includes unlimited public wi-fi and security software. That’s fairly hard to beat.
But is the download speed as fast as it should be, and are there any nasties hidden in the small print? Let’s find out in our independent review to help you decide if Sky Broadband Unlimited is the right option for you.
As you’ve no doubt guessed, this Sky broadband service delivers unlimited usage so you can download and upload as much as you want. Sky stays true its word with no fair usage policy or restrictive traffic management policy buried in the small print, so the service is classed as ‘truly unlimited’. Internet fanatics rejoice.
So how fast can you do all this stuff? Well, Sky Broadband Unlimited is a standard broadband connection, with an advertised download speed up to 17Mb. As always, actual speeds vary depending on where you live, and in reality the service ranges from 8.8Mbps to 11.4Mbps. While it’s some way behind the headline rate, it’s above the average standard broadband speed, which is around 8.4Mbps according to Ofcom. It’s worth noting that although Sky won’t actively slow you down with traffic management at peak times, network congestion can cause your speed to dip during evenings and weekends.
Sky Broadband Unlimited is fast for a standard broadband service and ample for many jobs, but it will be a little slow for more data-intensive activity or for large households using multiple devices on wi-fi.
|Advertised download speed||Up to 17Mb|
|Average downloads (off-peak)||8.7Mbps – 10.4Mbps|
|Average downloads (peak)||8.6Mbps – 10.3Mbps|
|Advertised upload speed||Up to 1.3Mbps|
|Monthly usage limit||No|
|Minimum contract||18 months|
|Public wi-fi||20,000+ hotspots via The Cloud|
|Prices from||£18.99 per month|
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The ‘Actual’ speeds are those reported by Ofcom.
Sky Broadband Unlimited no longer comes with an inclusive call plan as standard. Instead, you'll pay for each call you make at a rate of 9.5p per minute to UK landlines and 12.7p per minute to UK mobiles. Rates vary for premium and international numbers. Alternatively, you can pay extra to get one of the three Sky Talk call plans. The options include Evening and Weekends Extra (+£4), Anytime Extra (+£8) and International Extra (+£12). The plans feature inclusive landline and mobile calls for up to an hour, after which you’ll need to hang up and redial to avoid being charged.
It's disappointing that Sky doesn't offer a free inclusive call plan, but the addition of mobile calls to its paid-for plans is certainly a bonus. Line rental is inescapable but is now included in the advertised monthly price.
Sky offers some nice benefits that make it much more than just another broadband provider. First, your unlimited usage extends across a massive public wi-fi network of 20,000+ nationwide hotspots operated by The Cloud. Once you’ve downloaded the Sky wi-fi app you’ll be alerted each time you enter a hotspot and can opt to use the public wi-fi and save the data on your phone or tablet. You can also sign in to the network here with other wireless enabled devices without the app. Free wi-fi is particularly handy if you have Sky TV too, as it means you can watch TV on demand via the Sky Go app without tapping into your data allowance.
Another useful feature is Sky’s parental control software, Broadband Shield, which is included free. It allows you to select the type of content viewable on all devices connected to your home network by choosing PG, 12, 18, or custom controls. But it doesn’t protect against security threats, malware and viruses, so you’ll need to get separate software for that. You can either shop around or take advantage of the 12-month free trial with McAfee Internet Security Suite – an exclusive offer for all Sky Broadband Unlimited customers.
You can get all this good stuff from £18.99 per month, regardless of whether you take standalone broadband and phone or as a part of a bundle with TV. You get a lot for your money at Sky and the inclusive features could actually save you a fair bit because you can avoid paying for separate mobile broadband and security software (for the first year at least).
Customer service also contributes to overall value and shouldn’t be overlooked. Sky came out well for customer service as a broadband provider in 2015, scoring 80% customer satisfaction compared to the industry average of 67% according to Ofcom. Sky was commended for having advisers who understood issues and identified problems and for offering compensation or goodwill payments.
All broadband plans are supplied with the Sky Hub free of charge (subject to £9.95 p&p), which Sky claims is simple and secure to set up. The high-tech router automatically gives you the best signal available and switches to low power mode when not in use to save energy. If you have Sky TV too, the hub connects wirelessly to the Sky+HD box so you can watch on demand and catch up TV.
Set-up is free unless you don’t have an active BT phone line at your property, in which case you may face an £39 installation charge. You’ll usually be up and running within two weeks and if you’re switching from another provider, Sky’s ‘switch squad’ sorts it all out so you don’t even need to call to cancel. The exception to this is if you’re moving from Virgin Media, where you’ll have to make the call yourself, as the two providers operate on different networks.
If you spend a lot of time online but aren’t hugely concerned about speed, Sky Broadband Unlimited could be the perfect Sky broadband deal for you. You’ll get truly unlimited usage and a valuable collection of extras that could save you a nice chunk each month. As Sky broadband packages go, this is a middle-of-the-road service, neither bargain basement nor superfast premium, but it will be spot-on for many broadband users.
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