Sky provides a steady and reliable broadband service, but it lacks the fastest connections
- Good all-round performance
- Lowest level of complaints to Ofcom
- Simple line-up of broadband packages
- Has withdrawn gigabit speeds over capacity concerns
- Doesn’t stand out from the crowd in any regard
Many customers will have joined Sky Broadband as part of a bundled package that includes satellite television and telephone services. Now that bundles have largely fallen out of fashion, is there any reason to remain with Sky?
Sky Broadband hasn’t managed to land any of our Expert Reviews Best Broadband Awards this year, although it’s a respectable all-round performance. Sky doesn’t excel in any category, but it doesn’t fare poorly in any regard either. It also puts in a table-topping performance when it comes to customer complaints received by regulator Ofcom – nobody has fewer grumbling customers.
Of course, you may get a better deal if you bundle different Sky services together – the company’s still keen to sell you Sky Q and now Sky Glass television, the latter of which doesn’t require a satellite dish to be installed, it’s all run over the broadband. This makes it all the more important that Sky is getting the fundamentals of broadband speed and reliability right. Although, if you want the very fastest gigabit-grade connection, you may have to look elsewhere, as Sky has temporarily removed that package from its portfolio, citing concerns over capacity.
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Sky Broadband review: Superfast 35
The Superfast 35 package really is an entry-level offering for households where 4K streaming or online gaming aren’t a huge priority. Sky’s waived the £20 setup fee that it used to charge on this tariff, and you’ll get Sky’s Broadband Shield security and Safe Search thrown in.
Sky also makes a “Wall to Wall Wi-Fi” guarantee, which basically guarantees you’ll receive a Wi-Fi signal in every room of the house, for properties of up to five bedrooms. Note that doesn’t guarantee any particular speed and outdoor buildings (such as garden offices) are excluded from that guarantee. You must also use the supplied Sky Broadband Hub and any boosters the company supplies.
The Sky Broadband Hub supplied with all of the company’s connections uses the older Wi-Fi 5 standard, but it includes four Gigabit Ethernet ports if you wish to wire devices instead. The Broadband Hub is fine for connections of this speed, although it might prove less effective when you move up the speed tiers to Ultrafast connections.
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Sky Broadband review: Ultrafast and Ultrafast Plus
If you want faster connection speeds, then you need to be on one of Sky’s Ultrafast full-fibre products. There’s no guarantee it will be available in your area, though. The 145Mbits/sec Ultrafast tier is available to 32% of UK homes, according to Sky, falling to 24% for the 500Mbits/sec Ultrafast Plus.
Sky has actually gone backwards in terms of its top speed, temporarily withdrawing its Gigafast package from new customers, which offered average download speeds of 900Mbits/sec. Sky put out a statement in November 2022 saying: “We are currently optimising our network and have temporarily paused new sales of Sky Broadband Gigafast while we do this.” At the time of writing in February 2023, it still hadn’t resumed.
In Sky’s defence, making sure you’ve got enough capacity before taking on new customers is good practice. Other suppliers may have risked dragging down everyone’s speed for the extra revenue. Customers who’d already taken up Gigafast connections weren’t impacted, either.
Sky Broadband Packages and Prices
|Superfast 35||Ultrafast||Ultrafast Plus|
|Price per month (inc line rental)||£23||£30||£45|
|Contract length||18 months||18 months||18 months|
Sky Broadband review: Coverage
Sky Broadband is based on the nationwide Openreach network. Openreach’s FTTC already reaches 96% of households in the UK, which covers Sky’s Superfast 35 tier. Only 8 million homes are within reach of the full-fibre network you’ll need for Sky’s Ultrafast connections, although Openreach is continuing to build out its network. You can check when your area is going to get full fibre on the Openreach website.
Sky Broadband review: Performance and customer satisfaction
In our annual customer survey conducted in partnership with YouGov, 64% of Sky Broadband customers said they were satisfied with the speed of their broadband. In some ways, it’s surprising that Sky didn’t score better than that, as Ofcom’s independent research finds that Sky’s average speed is pretty much bang on what it promises. If anything, it slightly over-delivers. However, customers’ perception of speed is often affected by Wi-Fi, and that might be more of a reflection of Sky Broadband not yet upgrading its router fleet to the newer Wi-Fi 6 technology.
Sky recorded an average performance when it came to customer service in our survey. Just under a quarter (24%) of customers described themselves as “very satisfied” with Sky’s service, with a further 43% describing themselves as “fairly satisfied”. Couple those respectable scores with Ofcom’s customer complaints league table, where Sky sits proudly at the top with the lowest level of complaints of any major provider, and Sky customers can rest assured they’re in capable hands. To put the Ofcom figures into perspective, Sky records fewer than a quarter of the number of complaints made about rivals Virgin Media and TalkTalk.
The reliability of Sky’s service is also well above average, according to our survey, with around three quarters (74%) of customers happy with the reliability of their broadband service.
Sky Broadband review: Verdict
Sky delivers a solid all-round service, with decent levels of performance and customer satisfaction. If you’re a Sky customer already, there’s no obvious reason to jump ship.
The problem for Sky is that there’s no compelling reason to attract new customers, either. It’s not currently offering the gigabit speeds on offer from rivals, and it doesn’t stand out in any regard. Unless you’re offered a great bundle deal, you’ll find faster and cheaper elsewhere.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4,664 adults, of which 876 are Sky users. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17 and 19 January 2023 and the survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).