Sky is one of the largest media companies in the world. And, while it’s best known in the UK for its satellite TV offering, it’s also a popular provider of mobile phones, landlines and broadband.
While it has fingers in many digital pies, we’re focusing here on its broadband service. What does it offer? Is Sky broadband any good? How much does it cost? What extras can you get? And how does it compare to what else is available?
Read on as we answer all these and more in our Sky broadband review.
First things first, what do current Sky broadband customers think of it? We asked them to find out in our 2022 broadband satisfaction survey.
The survey asked customers to rate their experiences out of five in a range of different categories. Sky performed well overall, but particularly in terms of customer service, installation and reliability.
Here’s how Sky broadband fared:
|Value for money||3.39|
|Router & equipment||3.65|
|Additional services||TV: 3.82 | Landline: 3.46 | Mobile: 3.90|
|Price increase communication||3.06|
|Customer loyalty score||3.61|
Note: these are weighted average scores from a 1-5 rating
To view customer scores for all of the major UK providers, visit our Uswitch Broadband Customer Survey page.
Good customer service
Very good coverage
Not the cheapest
Or the fastest
Doesn’t do slower, cheaper tariffs
Sky is the UK’s largest pay-TV broadcaster. It started life as BSkyB (British Sky Broadcasting) in 1990, following the merger of Sky TV and British Satellite Broadcasting.
Its TV offerings continued to grow with the likes of Sky Sports and Sky Cinema, and it started offering a home broadband service in 2006. After flipping between broadband networks for a few years, it eventually rested on BT’s Openreach as the supplier of its connections.
Sky has a reputation as a premium brand, offering top tier entertainment, sport and movies for those who are willing to pay for it. Its broadband services are similarly well-regarded. They’re not the cheapest around, but for speed and reliability, they do provide good value for money.
I’ve had Sky broadband for six years now, and am on an old package that’s no longer available – Sky Broadband Unlimited, which is delivered via ADSL. This gives average speeds of 11Mbps, which lets you download a 450MB HD TV episode in about 5-6 minutes (though you can start watching way before it’s fully downloaded).
While we get by on this speed for now, we’re aware that it’s now the slowest advertised broadband speed available, which is why our package has been discontinued for new customers.
Much faster offerings are available, including superfast speeds (36Mbps or 59Mbps), ultrafast speeds (145Mbps or 500Mbps) and gigafast speeds of 900Mbps. The latter can download the same HD TV show in about five seconds.
Plus, Sky’s superfast deals will likely be a similar monthly price to what we’re paying anyway, given how much cheaper those deals have become in recent years. And this will likely be what eventually persuades us to upgrade from our 11Mbps connection.
Still, there’s a reason I’ve stuck with Sky for six years: reliability. Over that time, I can count on one hand the number of outages I’ve suffered. And as someone who’s self-employed and works from home, that’s invaluable.
I’m in a family household of four, with near-constant streaming of digital radio and Netflix, plenty of on-demand downloads to our Sky Q box and all-day browsing on a range of devices. Yet, 11Mbps is a fast enough speed for us.
This said, maybe once the kids get old enough to start gaming and watching videos online – and we finally upgrade to a 4K TV and start streaming in a much higher quality – we’ll likely have to reassess.
Sky uses Openreach’s network to deliver its broadband. This is the same network that most other major providers use, and with good cause – with 97% coverage, it’s available nearly everywhere, with only the most hard-to-reach households unable to connect.
At first, Sky used the same copper wires that delivered landline telephone services, but these were replaced by the fibre network with its faster speeds (Sky’s superfast offerings use fibre). However, these still use copper wires for the last stretch. The fibre only goes as far as the cabinet in the street, with the same copper wires running from the cabinet to the home and therefore slowing the connection.
But Sky’s ultrafast and gigafast services use full fibre connections. This uses no copper cabling at all – hence the blazingly fast speeds of up to 900Mbps that Sky and other providers are able to offer.
If you’re moving home and you want to see what broadband options you have at your new property, take a look at our broadband and moving home guide.
I took several speed tests during the writing of this review, and all were above the advertised 11Mbps download speed. In fact, I averaged a smidgen over 13Mbps, a full 2Mbps over what I should be getting. Speeds were fastest during business hours, with only a slight dip in the evenings and early mornings.
As I’ve said, much faster speeds are available from Sky. Here are all of its speeds available to new customers:
Superfast Essential: 36Mbps (good for those who want speeds that can stream high-quality TV while someone else in the home is busy on their laptop)
Superfast: 59Mbps (download a 450MB HD TV show in about a minute)
Ultrafast: 145Mbps (a real step up, ideal for busy households with lots of devices)
Ultrafast Plus: 500Mbps (perfect for 4K downloads and gaming with no delays and low latency)
Gigafast: 900Mbps (this option is crazily fast, but could be a good option for home workers wanting to send large files without disturbing the rest of the family’s viewing)
The speeds you get and the dependability of your connection will vary depending on many things, including:
How far you live from your local street cabinet
How many devices you have connected at any given time
The location of your router can affect your internet connection.
Because Sky uses the very robust Openreach network, outages for us are pretty uncommon. And when they do arise, they’re fixed very quickly. In six years of use, I’ve suffered just a handful of outages, only a couple of which have lasted more than a couple of hours. Admittedly, I don’t use Sky broadband for more intensive things, like 4K streaming or online gaming. But based on my years of experience, I would trust the network to be reliable enough for any kind of usage. Want peace of mind? Sky’s Speed Guarantee says that, if your speed falls below your guaranteed minimum download speed for three days in a row within a 30-day period, you’ll get your money back. Sky will tell you this speed when you’re signing up for the package, and the Speed Guarantee applies to all of its broadband packages. Suffering from broadband outages? Find out what to do with our guide
Given Sky’s smooth installation process and excellent reliability, I haven’t needed to have much contact with its customer service team. But it does seem that Sky has a good reputation for its customer service, according to a number of industry-wide customer reports.
Firstly, the provider received an average Customer Service score of 3.76 / 5 in our Uswitch broadband customer satisfaction survey. It wasn’t the highest result of all the providers (Plusnet achieved that with 3.97). But it vastly outperformed the likes of TalkTalk and Virgin Media, who received 3.46 and 3.44 respectively.
Another great way to test a provider’s reputation for customer service is by looking at Ofcom’s quarterly complaints report. This ranks providers based on the number of complaints Ofcom received about their service.
Sky has consistently seen a very low number of complaints to Ofcom compared with most other broadband providers in the UK. Often alongside EE, it performs the best out of all of them, with three or four complaints per 100,000 customers, compared to Virgin Media or TalkTalk’s 15+. Which further shows how little cause customers have for complaint about Sky, as opposed to similar-sized providers.
See our much more detailed guide on which broadband providers have the best customer service.
Sky is a quadplay provider, which means it offers all four of the major telecoms services: broadband, TV, landline and mobile phone contracts.
The more of its services you sign up to, the more of a discount you will usually receive, and the more simple your telecoms bills will be to pay. The downside? The more you are locked in with one single company.
As well as broadband, I have Sky Q with the Ultimate TV Add On, which includes a Netflix subscription in your monthly bill. This is a great addition, as it gives us all the main entertainment channels we could want, including plenty of HBO content from Sky Atlantic, with Netflix filling in the gaps. And as the father of two young children, having plenty of kids’ options on tap is a godsend. Having Netflix and more US TV options are particularly helpful during the summer months, when British TV becomes a bit unexciting for us. We’re not a big sporting household, so don’t bother with the sports channels, and we’ve found the range of options on Sky Cinema a bit disappointing. But be warned, all this telly doesn’t come cheap. Taken on its own, Sky Signature plus the Ultimate TV Add On often costs around £26 a month, while Sky Cinema is an extra £12 a month, Sky Sports £20 a month, BT Sport £28 a month and Sky Kids £6 a month. You can also add Disney Plus for £7.99 a month. But we’re not done yet. Sky also offers an option called Multiscreen, which lets you watch Sky on up to four additional TVs in the home. That’s an extra £15 a month. And if you want to upgrade to HD and Ultra HD (aka 4K), it’ll cost you another £12 a month. Just want HD? That’s £8 more a month. So you can see how the costs can soon add up if you want access to more TV channels and more features.
Sky Mobile has a range of competitive deals on all of the latest handsets, including the iPhone 14 and Samsung Galaxy S22. But it also has many options for cheaper phones and SIM-only contracts too, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly mobile plan.
Of course, Sky wants your custom, so it often bundles various services together for a lower price than you’d pay if you had separate providers. For example, you can get the Sky Q TV package and broadband for £31 a month. That’s set for 18 months. After that, the price is likely to go up, so be prepared to shop around or renegotiate.
The installation of our Sky Broadband Unlimited connection was pretty quick and easy. We had it installed as we moved into our house, so didn’t have to switch providers. But seeing as Sky uses the Openreach network, I imagine switching from any other provider on the same network to Sky would be a simple process.
The engineers were very helpful, explaining how the router works and advising where to place the Wi-Fi router for the best possible signal. We also have Wi-Fi boosters to ensure we get signal in all areas of our home. Our Wi-Fi even stretches into the garden, which is especially helpful in the summer months.
The equipment is all good quality and, six years on, is going strong with barely any hiccups.
Being on an old package, we still have the discontinued Sky Q Hub, but it works much the same as the newer Sky Broadband Hub. The Sky Q Hub is slimmer than the Broadband Hub, and only has five antennae, to the new Hub’s eight. That means the newer model should give you better Wi-Fi coverage than our router. But I’ve found ours to be adequate for what we need. We live in a three bedroom terrace that’s much longer than it is wide. And with the help of two Wi-Fi boosters – one in the hall, one upstairs in the back bedroom – we get decent coverage in every room in the house. One thing to note: you’ll have to use Sky’s Hub rather than any third party router. It is technically possible to use a different router with Sky broadband, but you’ll have to work out how to do it yourself, which isn’t recommended unless you know your stuff. But the Sky Hub comes free with the broadband package.
The Sky Wi-Fi Guarantee is exactly what it says on the tin – it guarantees you Wi-Fi coverage in every room in your home or your money back. However, since our package is only for 11Mbps, it only guarantees us 3Mbps. Plus, you need to get Sky Broadband Boost to qualify. Sky Broadband Boost comes with other benefits, such as:
Engineer visits at a time that suits you (including evenings and weekends)
Daily speed checks from Sky
A free 2GB added onto your Sky Mobile data allowance if your broadband drops out.
It costs an extra £5 a month, and is available on all of Sky’s current broadband packages.
If you don’t pay for Sky Broadband Boost, you are still covered by a less-stringent guarantee. Sky’s Wall to Wall Wi-Fi Guarantee again guarantees you 3Mbps in each room of your house for a 11Mbps deal, but that increases as the speed of your package increases. However, it’s limited to five bedrooms or 12 rooms in total. The paid-for Sky Wi-Fi Guarantee doesn’t put a limit on the number of rooms.
I find Sky’s service to be very good value for money. Yes, much faster options are available (many from Sky itself), and I could get the same average speed for slightly cheaper elsewhere.
But reliability counts for a lot, especially when you’re self-employed and work from home. As things stand, I don’t need faster speeds and it seems silly to take a punt on a new provider for a saving of just a few quid a year. And importantly, if you’re keen on Sky TV, adding a broadband connection to the package will be a very enticing option.
Sky also offers a discounted package for those on Universal Credit. Called Sky Broadband Basics, it costs £20 a month for 18 months, and includes Sky Broadband Superfast 35 and Sky Pay As You Talk (which only charges you for the landline calls you make). If you leave before the 18-month contract expires, Sky won’t charge you an early termination fee.
Sky increased its prices in April 2022, charging millions of customers an extra £43 a year on average. This was communicated clearly, well ahead of the 30 days’ warning providers are obliged to provide. Because Sky is one of the few broadband providers that doesn’t include annual inflation-based price increases in its contract terms and conditions, I could have left my contract early without paying an early cancellation fee. But I chose not to. Sky does stipulate in its terms and conditions that its TV prices can increase once every 12 months by up to 10%, but that doesn’t apply to its broadband. Instead, it just says that “Prices may increase and services may vary, including during the minimum term.”
Sky’s current broadband packages aren’t the cheapest around, but they do offer decent speeds, great coverage and excellent reliability. If you’re taking Sky TV as well, then Sky broadband makes sense. The relatively high price and lack of slower speeds makes Sky broadband a good option for heavy users, such as big households with multiple devices connected to Wi-Fi at the same time. If lots of family members are all streaming or downloading shows at once, the last thing you want is a buffering screen, after all. I wouldn’t pay more for the Wi-Fi guarantee because, in my experience, engineer visits have been so infrequent. And the Wall to Wall Wi-Fi Guarantee should suffice for all but those in the largest of households. Want to download shows and films in the blink of an eye? Or get the edge over your gaming opponents while multiple others stream in high quality? Sky’s ridiculous 900Mbps offering should handle the job very capably. Sky broadband won’t be for everyone. If you’re looking for a no-frills offering that helps you stay within budget, you’d be better served elsewhere. But if you want a strong, reliable connection that offers plenty of premium TV packages, and the offer of a mobile contract on top, Sky could be the provider for you.
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