Is Sky broadband any good?

sky broadband browser

THINK Sky and the first thing most of us think of is satellite TV.

Our Rating
Features:

Value for money:

Customer service:

Overall
5 out of 5

Does that make Sky broadband just a bolted on service for their pay TV customers? Is Sky broadband any good?

We'll aim to find out - focusing on connection quality and value for money - in this full review.

First though, let's take a quick look at the latest deal Sky are offering on their most popular package, unlimited standard broadband:

Sky Broadband Latest Offers

Sky Unlimited Broadband £5 for 12 months (usually £10/mth)

Get this deal

£17.40/mth line rental applies.

Sky broadband in brief

Sky have six broadband options: 12GB, Unlimited, Fibre, Fibre Unlimited, Fibre Unlimited Pro, and Connect. Each relies on taking Sky line rental, which costs £17.40 a month.

Connect is the broadband option for those people who don't live within Sky's broadband network area. We talk about it in more detail further down.

Package Broadband Cost of broadband Line rental Take it: On its own Take it: With TV
sky 12GB Up to 17Mb
12GB
Free
for 12 mths, then £5
(with Sky TV and Sky Talk)
£17.40 N/a
sky Unlimited Up to 17Mb
Unlimited
£5
for 12 mths,
then £10
£17.40
sky Fibre Up to 38Mb
25GB usage
£5
for 12 mths,
then £10
£17.40
sky Fibre Unlimited Up to 38Mb
Unlimited
£10
for 12 mths,
then £20
£17.40
sky Fibre Unlimited Pro Up to 76Mb
Unlimited
£10
for 12 mths,
then £20
£17.40
sky Connect (for customers outside Sky's network) Up to 6Mb
Unlimited
£17 £17.40 N/a

At the time of this update, Sky Broadband 12GB has just replaced the old Lite package, which was Sky's truly "free broadband" deal.

Lite came with the UK's smallest monthly download limit for home broadband - just 2GB per month - making it suitable only for those who do the odd bit of browsing and emailing.

By comparison, the new 12GB package offers a slightly more realistic data cap - but introductory offers aside, it'll cost £5 a month.

Broadband Unlimited is by far the most popular option, although more and more homes are taking fibre - and usually on contracts of just 12 months long (we'll explain when the contract may be longer further down).

Anyone for whom 38Mb isn't fast enough should check to see if they're in an area where they can get Fibre Pro, which is Sky's 76Mb service.

Now we've got the basics, let's take a closer look: we'll start off with prices, then move on to their speeds and usage limits (skip ahead), as well as extras like the free router and wi-fi (skip ahead).

Crunching the numbers: prices

Sky are fairly competitive on price, especially compared to their main rivals, BT and Virgin Media - and they frequently run a range of deals that bring their prices down further.

Here are some of Sky's current special offers:

What's on offer? When you join online for:
sky Half price TV for six months + £25 Prepaid MasterCard
Hurry! Offer ends in 7 days!
28 July 2016
Any Sky TV bundle (excluding Sky Q)
sky Sky Unlimited Broadband £5 for 12 months (then £10/mth) + £50 Prepaid MasterCard
Hurry! Offer ends in 7 days!
28 July 2016
Sky Unlimited broadband
(without Sky TV)
sky Sky Unlimited Broadband £5 for 12 months (usually £10/mth)Sky Unlimited Broadband
(as a new or existing Sky TV customer)
sky Sky Fibre just £5 a month for 12 months (then £10/mth)Sky Fibre (25GB usage)
(without Sky TV)

And here are the prices for Sky Broadband with and without the basic Sky TV service; the Original Bundle usually costs £20 a month - and remember to add on the cost of Sky line rental.

Package Price Line Rental Total cost
sky Broadband Unlimited + Talk £5
for 12 mths,
then £10
£17.40 £22.40
for 12 mths,
then £27.40
sky Fibre Unlimited + Talk £10
for 12 mths,
then £20
£17.40 £27.40
for 12 mths,
then £37.40
sky TV Original + Broadband 12GB + Talk £20
for 12 mths, then £25
£17.40 £37.40
for 12 mths, then £42.40
sky TV Original + Broadband Unlimited + Talk £20
for 6 mths,
then £30
£17.40 £37.40
for 6 mths,
then £47.40
sky TV Original + Fibre Unlimited + Talk £20
for 6 mths,
then £40
£17.40 £37.40
for 6 mths,
then £57.40
sky TV Original + Broadband Connect + Talk £27
for 6 mths,
then £37
£17.40 £44.40
for 6 mths,
then £54.40

Compare more package options and check availability here.

Note that these are the prices for the standard Sky TV, phone and broadband deals. There is another option - taking Sky Q - for which contracts are a minimum of 18 months long, and prices are higher. There's more on Sky Q here.

Existing Sky TV customers who are planning on upgrading to take Broadband 12GB or Unlimited face no setup charges, but new customers should be aware that the connection fee is £39; those wanting to join Sky Connect should factor in a £30 activation fee.

People who already have Sky broadband and want to upgrade to fibre should be aware there's a £50 activation charge; those completely new to Sky Broadband and going for fibre will get a discounted rate of £39.

If there's a working BT-compatible phone line to the premises, switching from an existing supplier to Sky should be free. If there is a line, but it's not BT-compatible, or if an entirely new line is required, there's a connection fee of £20. Find out more here.

Availability

Not all of the packages above will be available to all households, especially the Sky fibre broadband deals.

Check availability by postcode and home phone number here:

Postcode:
Enter your phone number and / or postcode above to check availability in your area.

Cheapest broadband?

Sky don't offer the UK's cheapest standalone broadband or line rental (see who does here), particularly since 12GB is only available for new and existing Sky TV customers.

However, because of their flair for tempting upgrade offers, they may well be the cheapest option for those who want or already have Sky TV.

Adding in calls

As we've noted above, Sky broadband is only available to customers who are also willing to switch their home phone to Sky, a rule that almost all broadband providers have now.

Since December 2015, Sky line rental has been £17.40 - the cheapest charged by the Big Four, but still among the most expensive out there. The £1 increase and its timing is in keeping with previous price rises; Sky last raised line rental in December 2014.

Unlike BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk, however, Sky no longer offer a pay upfront option. Paying in a lump sum can knock at least 10% of the cost of paying month by month over the year, so it's often worth considering.

What's more, Sky also don't include any calls with their line rental, so anyone wanting a call package will need to pay for the privilege. The provider's call plans break down as follows:

Pay As You Talk Talk Evenings And Weekends Extra Talk Anytime Extra Talk International Extra
Free £4 extra per month £8 extra per month £12 extra per month
No inclusive calls Inclusive evening and weekend calls to UK mobiles and UK landlines, including 0845 and 0870 numbers Inclusive anytime calls to UK mobiles and UK landlines, including 0845 and 0870 numbers; 2p per minute call rates to 22 international destinations Inclusive anytime calls to UK mobiles and UK landlines, including 0845 and 0870 numbers; landlines in 50 countries, and mobiles in Canada, Hong Kong and the US

Note that Sky do include calls to UK mobiles, no matter which network we're calling, in their bundles. As with most other home phone providers, the length of inclusive calls with Sky is 60 minutes.

The connection fee for calls to UK landlines is 16.9p; we'll then be charged at 11.5p per minute - as we also will for calls to mobiles.

To keep things simple, this is also the access charge for calls to other 08 numbers, 09, and 118 numbers. Calls to 0800 and 0808 numbers are free of charge.

As mentioned above, any households needing a new phone line installed - the unsure should read this guide - will need to pay a £20 set up fee.

Up to speed?

Speeds dictate Sky broadband prices to a large degree, as follows:

Up to 17Mb
Average 9.5Mb - 11.2Mb
Up to 38Mb
Average 34.4Mb - 36.4Mb
Up to 76Mb
Average 58.3Mb - 65.2Mb
12GB: £5
Unlimited: £10
Fibre: £10
Fibre Unlimited: £20
Fibre Unlimited Pro: £30

Figures are averages over 24 hours, as reported by Ofcom in March 2016.

Fibre really does result in faster speeds. As always, the average standard broadband user will get considerably slower speeds than the up to 17Mb Sky advertise (there has been a gradual creep upwards since August 2013).

Sky ADSL and fibre broadband run on the BT network, although there are some differences between the providers. There's more on those differences here.

A few years ago, Sky customers were among the most likely to escape peak time speed degradation caused by contention. However, Ofcom have now found that, among those with standard broadband connections, Sky customers are now the worst affected by contention.

We haven't included the Connect package, which is the only option available for non-LLU (read: rural) areas, above.

Connect is substantially slower than Sky's other broadband options. It offers speeds of up to 8Mb - which in December 2014 Ofcom suggested was below the minimum required for the average home - and it's subject to constant traffic management.

It's also much more expensive, because it costs more for Sky to pay BT to use these exchanges, and people in these areas are likely to have few other options.

Prior to the end of 2014, Connect also had a data limit, although at 40GB it was among the more generous capped packages available. The removal of the cap has made it slightly better value than previously.

Usage limits

With the exception of their Connect package, Sky don't impose any form of restriction on downloads on their unlimited deals. Customers are subject to no fair use policy, no traffic management and definitely no download cap.

Sky were the first to bring in this "truly unlimited" policy, though BT began offering a similarly unrestricted service in February 2013; TalkTalk's service is similarly unrestricted.

Read our network management article for more on how this actually affects broadband; most Sky unlimited users just seem to enjoy the peace of mind.

Get by on 12GB

As we said above, Sky Broadband 12GB is an improvement on the old 2GB cap that came with Lite, but it's still only suitable for households that don't do a huge amount of browsing, and certainly not the right choice for anyone who likes streaming audio or video.

Watching the odd bit of iPlayer should be okay, but more regular streamers - including those who use any of Sky's on demand TV services - could well find themselves going over that limit.

Anyone who wants more guidance about whether they're likely to go over Sky's data limits - from 12GB to the 25GB allowance that comes with their entry level fibre - should read our guide.

Extras: free router, wi-fi and parental controls

sky hub

Sky now offer two different wireless routers. Customers getting Sky Broadband on its own or with one of Sky's standard TV packages will be offered their standard router, pictured to the right.

However, since April this year, they've been able to request the newer Sky Q hub, at a cost of £20.

Those getting the new Sky Q service will get this hub free of charge. As well as looking a little sleeker, it works with other Sky Q devices to provide a better wi-fi signal all over the house.

Going the Sky Q route is more expensive, however - and as mentioned earlier, the minimum contract is 18 months long.

Read our review of the routers over here.

Customers taking anything other than Sky Broadband 12GB also get free access to wi-fi hotspots from The Cloud.

There are thousands of hotspots across the UK, some in branches of big chains including Pret, Caffe Nero and Eat.

Like the rest of the big five broadband providers, Sky also offer all their broadband customers good, router level, parental controls, which we've reviewed in full here.

From July this year, all new customers will find these controls are switched on automatically for them. Their browsing will be restricted to sites suitable for those aged 13 and under until 9pm at night when the restrictions will be lifted.

Anyone wanting to change these settings can do so by logging in to their account - which they'll be prompted to do if they try to access a filtered site.

Support check: how's Sky customer service?

In years past Sky Broadband's customer service wasn't always held in high esteem.

More recently, however, they've really outdone themselves: in January 2016, Ofcom revealed that among the big providers, Sky had surged ahead of their nearest competition in terms of customer satisfaction.

The two often swap first and second place in Ofcom's ratings, but after being narrowly beaten by Virgin in December 2014, Sky now have an 80% customer satisfaction rating, compared to 70% for Virgin.

Ofcom aren't the only ones to rate them: Sky do well in independent surveys as well.

In a Think Broadband survey, for example, 23% of Sky customers gave them five out of five for service, the top score of the big providers.

Sky offer 24/7 technical support (numbers here). Calls to their customer service numbers are free of charge when calling from a Sky landline; if it's the phone line that's the problem, Sky use an 03 number, so it should be included in most mobile call plans.

Existing Sky customers

We're aware that some people reading this article will be Sky TV customers wondering whether to add broadband to their existing deal.

Not wanting to leave anyone out when it comes to a special offer or two, Sky often run deals for existing customers who are thinking of upgrading. Currently those are as follows:

Offer Additional price*
sky Fibre (25GB allowance) 12 months half price £5 for 12 months, then £10 a month
sky Fibre Unlimited 12 months half price £10 for 12 months, then £20 a month

*As mentioned above, to take Sky broadband or fibre, customers must also take and pay for Sky line rental.

As we've seen, Sky are very focused on their pay TV business, so existing TV customers often get the best value for money and standards of care.

Take, for example, when Sky bought O2 and Be broadband and migrated their customers on to the Sky network. Many of them were unhappy with the change - even though Sky soon brought in very similar deals and offered low prices.

In addition, Sky have been investigated for customer service issues relating to their retention practises - or, as many frustrated customers would rather it was called, their refusal to let them leave.

Standalone customers should really look elsewhere first, particularly if they're looking for cheaper deals or simpler customer service.

Summing up Sky

All in all, Sky deliver much more than a basic add-on to their satellite TV: in fact, completely unlimited downloads and their improving technical support have made Sky's offerings some of the best liked and best value broadband deals around.

On the other hand, Broadband 12GB and Connect do fit the add-on description pretty well. Even the current introductory offer on 12GB can be matched or easily beaten elsewhere.

Comments

1
18 June 2016
Kakarot

This is the worst internet service provider ever, if u are planing to get it trust me don't, it always keeps on disconnecting randomly and won't connect again for a long time and even after all the repairs it's the same. They should shut this thing down idk how can people cope with this wooden technology.

2
2 January 2016
J Keith

So after upgrading to fibre optic we've had nothing but problems. We've had engineers out. 1st one said we need a new line from the pavement to the house. 2nd one said no problem with external line it's inside the house that's the problem. After getting all the internal wires replaced by an independent engineer (at our cost) the speed was still way below what was promised, so Sky admit that fibre optic in our area is not very good. So. They advise we should down grade to broadband as that can possibly be quicker. So we downgrade. Then on change over day Internet stops working altogether (30/12). What can you do? Nothing until the 7/1 that's great Sky. Thanks a lot.

3
15 December 2015
Peterson

They have a serious problem there.

4
4 December 2015
Angel

Horrible internet connection. I get disconnected all the time and after I go through their Connection Diagnosis the internet drops again. From what I see they still didn't solve this problem and I'm unsure they won't even bother to solve it.

5
13 October 2014
Ph3n0M47

Service is extremely intermittent. Works great for about 20 mins, then not at all for 10. Customer service is great but all they really offer to do is refresh the line. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't. All in all very unstable.

6
14 August 2014
James

I get a fantastic service.

7
11 April 2013
Drewmcadam

Yes - the real problem with Sky is the constant and regular disconnects. They have a serious problem there, and have done nothing to sort it out. If you play games online, you can forget about using Sky. Simple as that.

8
6 April 2013
Victor

This is more of a question. Why can't I get a line rental saver with Sky if I apply online? They insist I need to order the line rental over the phone to be eligible for the line rental saver. I can get some cash back (quidco or top cash back) if applying for Sky talk and broadband. I can get line rental saver if I buy Plusnet or TalkTalk online.

9
25 March 2013
dave

Yet 2 years on, it has problems with the constant disconnects, that a lot of people all over the country are having currently from around December 2012 - present March 2013, and it is ridiculous with the amount of times these disconnects occur. It differs from day to day, sometimes it's 2 or 3, sometimes it's 10 - 20. It can happen at any peak or off peak times. Everything that a Sky forum mod/op says on their forum is the same old rubbish, have you reset the box, are you sure it's not getting interference? What when it's plugged in through hardwire from the router to my computer? No its the same thing that happens, the router turns off, flashes an amber light which then goes green and then your internet comes back on. Now they say the line is ok, and there is no problems with the line? Then what is it? I'd say it's your router fix it, and stop telling people because you can't be bothered fixing it, everyone's fed up, including me with ringing over the same issue that's affecting the whole country. Best fix I can think of is move ISP, which should be free of charge due to the poor service and lack of fix after 3 - 4 months.

10
20 January 2012
david poole

This is for mark p,

If you have Sky TV with a phone line, unplug your Sky adapter/line from the BT socket and put your phone line which is connected to your router in and watch your Internet speed shoot up.

I have BT internet but changed my Sky box to Sky+ and my internet speed went down to 1mb-2mb. I took my Sky line and put my phone line directly into the phone socket and my speed shot up to 8.86-9.25mb even after being told my exchange is only 5.5km away - the Sky box slows your speed down!

11
5 January 2012
D@/\/

I have had Sky broadband for almost a year now. I got it because I wanted Sky+ HD and it was a lot cheaper if you get the full package with phone line as well. Also you get multi room. But I absolutely regret this. The connection of the router always remains existent but it frequently cannot pickup Internet signal as it's not fibre optic. This is extremely annoying because it happens at least once every couple of hours which means that if I start any long download then it will always phase out when the router fails to pickup signal or the internet signal received by the router gets very low: even if this is just for a second. Even when there is signal it gives a very slow Internet speed.

12
28 September 2011
mark p

I have been with Sky for 6 months now and the best download is 2.2Mb downstream and 0.3Mb up. I live 2km away from the exchange and cannot have fibre optic as it's not set up in my area.

I have checked the filter, wires to the telephone etc, are all ok and had an engineer set it when I started with Sky. Sky have said there's nothing they can do until the exchange upgrades which could be years!

I contacted Virgin and they did a test on my line and so did I via their tester and they said iI could get 10Mb - 17.5Mb. Is this a con to get my business? They said it wasn't because of Ofcom.

13
12 September 2011
Gary

Hi, just hoping for some advice if possible. I am currently with Sky for everything including my broadband and I have been with them for nearly two years and am no longer tied in to a contract. My broadband is truly shocking - I had problems since day one and last night was the last straw - 5 mins to upload a Sky page! I have checked on my connection speeds and barely touching 1Mb when I am supposed to receive 20Mb.

I am connected on the Connect package which I know doesn't hold the best speeds but was hoping for a lot better than this. The master socket is in the kitchen which can not be used as my living room is on the 2nd floor (3 story house) so I use the socket in my living room for my hub. Any suggestions as to how I improve my speed or do I transfer to another supplier? Thanks.

16 January 2016
ianmccully

IMHO I would try changing the filter and then phone Sky and ask their engineers to do a speed test on your telephone line, do it through the day as I found this the best time to phone thanks.

14
6 September 2011
steve

I've been using Sky broadband for a while now and to be honest, the quality of the service I get is truly awful. I live 1 1/2 miles from the exchange and the "up to 20mb" speed I get is actually 1.4 to 1.6mb, which in this age of ultra fast technology is shocking. I've asked them to sort it out for me but they say they're unable to help. Yes,the fee is cheap at £7.50, but in reality it's not even worth that.

I would strongly advise anyone to avoid Sky broadband at all costs, regardless of the price.

15
22 August 2011
Chris

Sky recently sent me an email saying they will "automatically move you up to Sky Broadband Unlimited" if I go over my monthly usage twice (currently on Lite). Can they do this with out my permission? I'm happy on my current broadband package & stated they can throttle my internet if I go over.

22 August 2011
Choose team

Hi Chris, There's usually a section of your broadband terms and conditions that states that Sky are within their rights to do this. Checking the small print should be your first move with this.

16
24 July 2011
Tee

If it costs more for existing Sky customers and am out of contract why can't I just cancel my contract, wait a day or two and take up a new contract in order to benefit from the prices for new customers?

24 July 2011
Choose team

This is something we've often wondered ourselves so we checked with Sky for the definitive answer.

This is what they said: "If a customer cancels their Sky subscription, they are not eligible for a new Sky offer for 12 months. In that 12 month period they would still be classed as an existing customer."

Hope that helps!

17
28 June 2011
Harjit

Do you qualify as a new customer if you already have Freesat?

28 June 2011
Choose team

As long as you don't have any Sky products we believe you qualify. You'll need a new dish but note that you can keep Freesat and have that and Sky connected to the same dish. That's particularly handy if you want TV in a few rooms: you could have freesat in one and Sky in another.

18
21 June 2011
Tim

I have Sky TV. When I go to sign up for broadband they are charging a £60 set up fee. In the above you say it is free?

21 June 2011
Choose team

The prices above are for non-Sky customers signing up online. Sky have another set of prices for their existing TV customers.

19
3 June 2011
Matt

What can I say about Sky. Well, we had BT internet at one point but as I am a gamer I needed a pretty fast connection and BT couldn't offer that, so we decided to swap over to Sky (since we already had a Sky+ HD box).

I must say that the Sky connection is a lot faster for browsing, gaming and downloading than any other provider.

20
15 May 2011
Regina

After some terrible experience during a move to a new home with BT, I decided to swap to Sky. I have been a TV customer with them for many years and was hoping to get a fair deal on broadband. However, they didn't stick to any of their promises and after 2 months the Internet is still not working properly.

I live only a few miles out of Edinburgh and would have expected a fairly stable internet connection here. I haven't managed to discuss this with anyone from Sky on their so called 24/7 phoneline and they haven't responded to any e-mails I've sent. I might just cancel my direct debit as I'm not willing to pay any longer for this poor service.

I don't know if there is any real alternative as most of the Internet providers do not realise that we've reached the 21st century and people need a reliable and fast Internet connection for private and business purposes. Until the big companies get these issues sorted I would rather use mobile Internet on a Pay-as-you-go basis.

21
7 May 2011
John

You say the following about Sky Broadband, "It's also worth looking at what you'll actually be getting before you jump in: this is a very basic broadband deal for browsing, emailing and not much else". What else is there to get with broadband, am I missing something here?

John

7 May 2011
Choose team

Yeah sorry John I can see how that could be confusing! So we mean browsing low-bandwidth websites and emails as opposed to streaming video on sites like Youtube and iPlayer or via your TV, listening to music online on sites like Spotify, playing games online, downloading large files etc. Hope this helps.

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