Is Sky broadband any good?

sky broadband browser

THINK Sky and you probably think satellite TV deals.

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.

Sky broadband in brief

Sky have six broadband options: Lite, Unlimited, Fibre, Fibre Unlimited, Fibre Unlimited Pro, and Connect.

Package Broadband Cost of broadband Line rental Take it: On it's own Take it: With TV
sky Lite Up to 17Mb
2GB usage
Free
(with Sky TV)
£16.40 N/a Visit Sky
sky Unlimited Up to 17Mb
Unlimited
£7.50 £16.40 Visit Sky Visit Sky
sky Fibre Up to 38Mb
25GB usage
£10 £16.40 Visit Sky Visit Sky
sky Fibre Unlimited Up to 38Mb
Unlimited
£20 £16.40 Visit Sky Visit Sky
sky Connect (for customers outside Sky's network) Up to 6Mb
Unlimited
£17 £16.40 N/a Visit Sky

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.

Lite is Sky's "free broadband" package, but it comes with the UK's smallest monthly download limit for home broadband, so it's only suitable for those who just browse and email.

Broadband Unlimited is by far the most popular option, although more and more homes are taking fibre.

Now we've got the basics, let's take a closer look: we'll start off with prices, then take a look at 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 generally competitive on price, especially compared to their main rivals, BT and Virgin Media.

Here are some of Sky's current special offers:

25% off TV for 12 months + £75 bill credit
ends 25 Jun 2015
Sign up online to a Sky TV bundle for this offer here
12 months free Sky broadband + £50 M&S voucher Sign up online to Sky unlimited broadband without Sky TV for this offer here
6 months half price Fibre Unlimited
ends 25 Jun 2015
Sign up online to Sky unlimited broadband without Sky TV for this offer here
12 months half price Sky broadband + £50 M&S voucher
ends 25 Jun 2015
Sign up online as a existing Sky TV customer for this offer here
6 months half price Fibre Unlimited
ends 25 Jun 2015
Sign up to Sky Fibre Unlimited as an existing Sky customer for this offer here

And here are the prices for Sky Broadband with and without the basic Sky TV service; the Original Bundle usually costs £21.50 a month. On top of that, anyone taking Sky Broadband also has to take Sky line rental.

Package Price Line Rental Total cost
sky Broadband Unlimited + Talk Weekends Free
for 12 mths,
then £7.50
£16.40 £16.40
for 12 mths,
then £23.90
Visit Sky
sky Fibre Unlimited + Talk Weekends £10
for 6 mths,
then £20
£16.40 £26.40
for 6 mths,
then £36.40
Visit Sky
sky TV Original + Broadband Lite + Talk Weekends £16.12
for 12 mths,
then £21.50
£16.40 £32.52
for 12 mths,
then £37.90
Visit Sky
sky TV Original + Broadband Unlimited + Talk Weekends £19.88
for 12 mths,
then £29
£16.40 £36.28
for 12 mths,
then £45.40
Visit Sky
sky TV Original + Fibre Unlimited + Talk Weekends £26.12
for 6 mths,
then £41.50
£16.40 £42.52
for 6 mths,
then £57.90
Visit Sky
sky TV Original + Broadband Connect + Talk Weekends £33.12
for 12 mths,
then £38.50
£16.40 £49.52
for 12 mths,
then £54.90
Visit Sky

Compare more package options and check availability here.

All Sky TV and phone contracts are 12 months long; standard broadband contracts are also 12 months long, but anyone signing up to fibre must make a minimum 18-month commitment.

There's no charge for set up or installation even for those who need a totally new phone line - it comes included upon sign-up for broadband or TV. The only time people may have to pay a connection charge is if they don't have a BT-compatible line - 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:

Phone number:
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 and line rental (see who does here), particularly since broadband Lite is only available for new and existing Sky TV customers.

However, 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 line to Sky's line rental, a rule that almost all broadband providers have now.

As we update this article in spring 2015, Sky line rental is £16.40 - on the same level as all the other big providers.

Unlike BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk, however, Sky no longer offer a pay upfront option for line rental. Paying in a lump sum can knock £50 to £60 a year off the bill so it's often worth considering.

Sky call plans break down as follows:

Talk Weekends Talk Anytime UK Talk Anytime International
Free with line rental £5 extra per month £10 extra per month
Inclusive weekend calls to UK landlines Inclusive anytime calls to UK landlines, including 0845 and 0870 numbers Inclusive anytime calls to UK landlines, including 0845 and 0870 numbers; landlines in 50 countries, and mobiles in Canada, Hong Kong and the US

As with most other home phone providers, the length of inclusive calls with Sky is 60 minutes.

Call rates outside inclusive hours are fairly standard: the connection fee is 15.9p, then expect to pay 9.5p a minute to UK landlines, 12.7p a minute to mobiles, 6.63p per minute to 0845 numbers, and 14.16p a minute to any other 08 number.

Any households needing a new phone line installed - see this guide if you're not sure - will need to pay a £39 set up fee.

Up to speed?

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

Up to 17Mb
Average 8.6Mb - 10.6Mb
Up to 38Mb
Average 34.3Mb - 36.4Mb
Up to 76Mb
Average 59.9Mb - 63.1Mb*
Lite: £0
Unlimited: £7.50
Fibre: £10
Fibre Unlimited: £20
Fibre Unlimited Pro: £30

Figures are averages over 24 hours, as reported by Ofcom.
*Sky 76Mb data unavailable; BT Infinity figures used instead.

Fibre really does result in faster speeds, on average and, as always, the average user will get considerably slower speeds than the up to 17Mb Sky now advertise (although 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 the differences between the providers here.

Ofcom's February 2015 figures don't include Sky's Fibre Pro (up to 76Mb) offering, as not enough people take it for the results to be reliable.

But in the past two sets of results, Ofcom note that Sky's 38Mb fibre shows the least peak time speed degradation caused by contention of all the big providers.

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 6Mb - which Ofcom suggests is 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.

But since we last updated this article at the end of 2014, it has at least seen its old 40GB usage limit removed, making it slightly better value than previously.

Usage limits

Unusually for a big provider, Sky don't impose any form of restriction on downloads on their unlimited deals (excluding Connect): no fair use policy, no traffic management and definitely no download cap.

Sky were the first to bring in this "truly unlimited" policy, though from February 2013 BT also offered it, as do TalkTalk.

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

Get by on 2GB:

As we said above, Sky broadband Lite's 2GB a month limit is only suitable for households that only use their internet for browsing web pages and reading emails.

Watching iPlayer, downloading large files or even listening to the radio online reasonably regularly is likely to result in going over the limit.

Anyone who wants more guidance about whether they're likely to go over Sky's various limits should read our guide.

Extras: free router, wi-fi and parental controls

sky hub

All Sky broadband packages include a decent wireless router, which Sky claims has much better wireless reach than other ISPs' free routers.

Read our review of the router over here.

Customers taking anything other than Sky Broadband Lite 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 all the big five broadband providers, Sky also offer all their broadband customers good, router level parental controls, which we've reviewed in full here.

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, the provider has really outdone itself: in December 2014, Ofcom revealed that among the big providers, only Virgin Media had a higher satisfaction rating - independent surveys continue to rate them highly.

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) - and they've recently switched from using an 0844 number to an 03 number. It's free for Sky Talk customers, and should be included in most UK mobile call packages. Outside of inclusive calls, it'll cost 9p per minute with a 15p connection from a BT line, but potentially much more from a mobile.

Existing Sky customers: Sky TV and O2/Be broadband migrants

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

It's worth noting that Sky often have special offers for existing customers who upgrade. Currently those are as follows:

Offer You get Additional price*
sky £50 M&S voucher and 12 months half price Broadband Unlimited £3.75 for 12 months, then £7.50 Visit Sky
sky Six months half price Fibre Unlimited £10 for 6 months, then £20 a month Visit Sky

*Sky line rental is required to take Sky broadband or fibre. Currently £16.40 per month.

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.

But as we've seen, Sky are very focused on their pay TV business, so TV customers probably get the best value for money. That means standalone customers should really look elsewhere first, particularly for cheaper deals.

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 ever improving technical support have made Sky's offerings some of the best liked and best value broadband deals around.

On the other hand, broadband Lite and Connect do fit the add-on description pretty well. Aside from Broadband Lite being "free", they can be easily beaten elsewhere.

Comments

1
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.

2
14 August 2014
James

I get a fantastic service.

3
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.

4
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.

5
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.

6
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!

7
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.

8
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.

9
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.

10
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.

11
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.

12
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!

13
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.

14
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.

15
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.

16
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.

17
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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