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Sky Broadband

Sky Broadband (2021) review: Impressive broadband bundles come with a catch

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
25
per month (59Mbits/sec)

Great speeds and excellent support, but value slips after the first 18 months

Pros 
High speeds and reliability
Great results for customer support
Good value packages early on
Cons 
Price hikes after 18 months
Some customers dissatisfied with speeds
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For a company most associated with premium TV, Sky has done a great job of moving into mobile and broadband services, becoming one of the biggest names in broadband after BT. Its secret is its triple-play bundles of broadband, phone and TV, where you’ll find some of Sky’s best offers but there’s still plenty to like about its broadband plans, even if you’re not a Sky TV subscriber.

As with last year, Sky hasn’t won any big prizes in our Expert Reviews Best Broadband 2021 Awards, but it did come away with a Highly Commended for Customer Service. Meanwhile, Sky continues to do well in Ofcom’s research when it comes to overall customer satisfaction, handling of complaints and performance. It’s not quite up there with EE and Plusnet but it’s a step ahead of some major competitors, so Sky seems to be doing something right.

Sky’s Broadband options keep things simple, with just one ADSL service and two Fibre plans. The only thing to watch out for is that, while the prices for new users can be very, very tempting, Sky’s packages get a lot more expensive once you’re through the initial 18 months. This is well worth being aware of if you don’t want a nasty shock from month 19 onwards.

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Sky Broadband (2021) review: Sky Broadband Essentials

Sky’s basic ADSL broadband package – Sky Broadband Essentials – is an unlimited package with 11Mbits/sec average download speeds. It comes in at £25 a month for 18 months with a £20 setup fee, or you can buy it with Sky’s Broadband Boost features added on for an additional £5 a month.

Broadband Boost is designed to guarantee a fast and reliable connection with daily checks on your line, free engineer visits to fix problems and a Sky Broadband Buddy app that allows you to control family Internet usage and screen time.

What’s more, it now includes a Wi-Fi guarantee, where Sky promises you at least 3Mbit/sec WiFi in every room. If you don’t get it, then Sky will send a Sky Broadband Booster or an engineer to fix your coverage. If that fails, you’ll get your money back. It’s a nice idea, but worth remembering that 3Mbit/sec minimum speed. 3Mbit/sec isn’t actually all that useful, especially if you’re hoping to stream Netflix or download games from online stores.

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Sky Broadband (2021) review: Sky Superfast

Sky's Superfast fibre service promises an average speed of 59Mbits/sec for £29 per month (including line rental) on an 18-month contract. Once again, though, that's not the whole story: you also have to pay £20 upfront to get going and, once your initial contract period expires, your monthly rate shoots up to £32 a month. That’s more than you’ll pay for similar speed services from Plusnet or EE. However, there is one big bonus to compensate right now, with Sky including free anytime calls for the first 18 months.

Once again, paying £5 extra will get you Broadband Boost with a Wi-Fi guarantee, although that 3Mbit/sec minimum will seem even slower if you’re used to 50 to 70Mbits/sec in another room.

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Sky Broadband (2021) review: Sky Ultrafast

Sky’s fastest connections use Openreach’s G.Fast technology to boost download speeds up to 145Mbits/sec and upload speeds up to 27Mbits/sec. That’s great and, at £33 per month, fantastic value, even with a £20 setup fee. You still need to watch for the 19th month shock however, as once you’re past the initial 18 months you’re looking at a bill of £44 per month.

Sky Broadband EssentialSky Broadband SuperfastSky Broadband Ultrafast
Price per month (inc line rental)£25£25£33
Upfront cost£20£20£20
Average speed11Mbit/sec59Mbit/sec145Mbit/sec
Usage allowanceUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Contract length18 Months18 Months18 Months

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Sky Broadband (2021) review: Coverage

Like the vast majority of UK ISPs, Sky relies on Openreach for its fibre network, so if you can get an Openreach fibre connection – including those from BT – then you can get one from Sky as well. That currently puts around 96.6% of the UK population in reach of Sky’s Superfast fibre services. With the Ultrafast, it’s a different story, as it's based on Openreach’s G.Fast technology. This currently covers around 2.8 million premises but BT has applied the brakes to any future plans. As a result, Sky’s fastest services won’t be an option for many customers outside of the UK’s biggest cities.

Sky Broadband (2021) review: Performance and customer satisfaction

While Sky's record for customer support hasn’t always been spotless, its results in our 2021 Best Broadband Awards survey are impressive. Nearly 42% of the Sky customers who responded were Very Satisfied with its customer support – more than any other ISP bar Zen Internet – while a further 32% were Satisfied, putting it third in the totals of satisfied customers behind EE and Zen. Three quarters of Sky’s customers are happy with its reliability, and 70% would recommend the service to someone else. Sky’s excellent customer support results won it a Highly Commended in this year’s awards.

The only areas where Sky had any serious levels of dissatisfaction were value for money and speed. While 60% of users feel they get good value for money, a sizable 14% aren’t so sure, with half of those being Very Dissatisfied. It’s a similar story with speed, where nearly 62% are Satisfied or Very Satisfied, but more than one in five users aren’t getting what they expected.

Oddly, Ofcom’s latest performance figures put Sky as one of the faster ISPs. Its ADSL services hit a higher-than-average average download speed, while its FTTC fibre services have an average download speed of over 50Mbits/sec and an average maximum download speed that’s even higher. That puts it ahead of EE and BT, let alone non-premium rivals such as Plusnet, TalkTalk and Vodafone.

As for Ofcom’s customer support and satisfaction figures, Sky is consistently above the average, with an overall satisfaction score of 86% to match BT and a higher score for its complaint handling, where only EE of the major ISPs does better.

Overall averageSky Broadband
Satisfaction85%86%
NPS129
Complaints to Ofcom per 1000 subscribers5221

Ofcom’s results are now incorporated into the scorecards issued by Ofcom in alliance with other regulators from the water, energy and banking sectors. These are designed to help customers choose the best providers based on metrics from the Institute of Customer Services and Net Promoter Scores. As you can see, Sky performs well for overall satisfaction and the number of complaints to Ofcom, but it needs to work on raising its Net Promoter Scores, where competitors Plusnet and BT do significantly better.

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Sky Broadband (2021) review: Verdict

Sky has some great deals, at least for the first eighteen months, giving you great speeds and excellent service at a very affordable price. The price hikes after eighteen months are more of a worry, though, so you might either want to renegotiate or move to another ISP. That’s a shame, because if Sky adjusted its pricing model it would be an easier ISP to fully recommend – and it might see its NPS and value for money scores improve. After all, it’s doing so much right elsewhere.

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