When you are thinking about which company to choose for your broadband needs, it stands to reason that you’ll want to have plenty of information about the options available. Luckily, that’s where we come in: with our guide to broadband supplier Sky, you can find out everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision.
Sky: The Story So Far
When it comes to broadband Sky is undoubtedly one of the names that first springs to mind. It’s a household name that also carries strong associations with premium TV services, which is where the company first started out. Sky UK now includes many different areas of business, including Sky Mobile and Sky Go. Currently, Sky’s flagship products are Sky Q and Sky Glass.
Sky’s foray into the world of internet provision started back in 2005 when the company bought the ISP (Internet Service Provider) EasyNet. At this time, EasyNet were one of two major investors in the LLU (Local Loop Unbundling) process in the UK. LLU meant that internet service providers were able to make use of telecommunications infrastructure, such as wires, so that internet connections could be made from nearby telephone exchanges to customers’ homes. This proved to be a smart purchase by Sky, who had acquired a million internet service customers by 2007, with it being estimated that a new customer was signing up every 40 seconds . By 2012, Sky had unbundled exchanges that offered internet coverage to 70% of the UK, and their customer base continued to grow, reaching 4 million customers in that year, and more than 6 million by 2017. Today, Sky Fibre and Sky Broadband hold almost a quarter of the UK broadband market share , with 22% of internet users opting for their services.
Sky As An Internet Provider
Sky is categorised as one of the "Big Three" in terms of the number of customers subscribing to its UK broadband services, along with BT and Virgin Media. This is an impressive ranking out of a total of 1224 broadband service providers currently operating in the UK 
The brand name Sky Broadband now refers to Sky’s ADSL internet service, and the most up-to-date service is called Sky Fibre. Sky Fibre is delivered via the BT Openreach network and using ADSL2+ technology and fibre-optic cabling. For those receiving Sky Broadband, a download speed of around 20 Mbps can be expected. Sky Superfast Fibre customers can achieve maximum internet speeds of 76 Mbps, which will require them to be using an FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) connection, which is accessed via a landline which is operated by BT Openreach.
Sky also owns the smaller internet provider Now Broadband, which is an extension of its Now TV brand, and which holds around 2% of the total UK market share itself .
Offering a budget broadband service, Now Broadband provides Superfast broadband with maximum speeds of 63 Mbps, which should be ample for most families’ internet usage needs. Now Broadband also gives its customers a contract-free option for its fibre broadband service, which is not something offered by its parent company Sky, but which can make it an especially attractive proposition for those looking to stick to a budget.
The Sky Broadband Experience
Simply search "speed test broadband Sky" to find out more about the latest average download and upload speeds and latency (also known as ping), that Sky can deliver. If you already have a broadband contract with Sky Broadband or Sky Fibre, you can check the actual speed of the internet service that you are receiving, in real-time.
Running such a test is quick and easy, requiring just a few clicks, and it’s totally safe to do so. For the best results, run your speed test from a device that is connected to the internet via an Ethernet cable. This is because an Ethernet connection provides the fastest internet speeds, as there is no need to encrypt the data being transmitted, as is the case with a wireless internet connection.
Averaged over more than 620,000 customer tests, Sky achieves a respectable average download speed of 42.22 Mbps, average upload speed of 14.26 Mbps, and ping or latency speed of 108 Ms . This puts Sky squarely in the Superfast category of broadband speeds, although it is slower than the average download speeds enjoyed by customers of BT, Virgin Media, and challenger broadband provider Zen Internet.
Can I Access Sky Internet?
Right now, Sky’s broadband services cover much of the UK, including many of our major towns and cities such as Preston, Luton, Aberdeen, Swindon, Plymouth, Swansea, Stoke-On-Trent and Belfast. Its premium Gigafast service is able to reach 24% of the UK population. This good coverage is due to Sky making use of BT Openreach’s network and infrastructure. There are many free tools available online that will allow you to find out if your home can access Sky internet services. All you need to enter is your postcode.
The Benefits Of Choosing Sky
Sky Fibre and Broadband come with plenty of plus points. All of Sky Fibre deals are free from data usage limits, so you can stream a whole series or game for hours without a second thought. Sky does not use any "traffic management" methods, which some ISPs have been known to use at peak times in order to avoid strain on their network. This means that your internet speed and performance should be consistent and not reduced during times of typically heavy usage.
Sky is also a good choice for those who want the reassurance of daily line checks, and the company also promises a money back guarantee that customers will receive not only the advertised average download speed, but also WiFi coverage in every room in the house. Their broadband service also includes Sky’s Broadband Shield built in for free, which is a robust way to ensure that everyone in your family is able to enjoy the internet safely. For those with children, the Sky Buddy app offers useful internet controls, too.
Sky: What You Get
When you sign up to Sky Fibre or Broadband services, you will be given a Sky Wireless Hub, free of charge. This is a router, which connects your devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets, to the internet via a wireless, or WiFi, connection. It’s important to carefully consider where you place this router in order to get the best possible internet speeds and performance. It should be located in an open area, where it is not blocked off by walls or doors. Don’t keep your router in a cupboard, or obscure it with photo frames or ornaments, and aim to have it at a high level. Keeping other electronic devices (such as baby monitors, cordless telephones, stereos, and even dimmer light switches) away from the router will help to ensure an optimal broadband experience without interference.
Choosing Sky TV and Broadband
To make a smart decision about your internet needs, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the different speeds offered in different Sky packages. The standard Superfast broadband is the cheapest fibre option, and with decent average speeds this makes a good choice for many households who enjoy browsing the internet and streaming TV or other content.
Faster internet speeds are available when you opt for Sky’s Ultra Fast broadband service, which promises average download speeds of 145 Mbps and average upload speeds of 27 Mbps. This increased speed can be a good option for households with a higher number of people likely to be using the internet at the same time, those who enjoy online gaming, or those who work from home.
Sky’s fastest broadband speeds are found in its Gigafast service. The most expensive of Sky’s broadband offerings, it delivers average download speeds of 900 Mbps, and average upload speeds of 90 Mbps. This kind of service is best for those who are likely to put very high demands on their internet service, and can be a good option for "smart" homes with a large number of continuously connected IoT (Internet of Things) devices, such as smart speakers, heating systems, refrigerators and more.
The faster the speed delivered by the service, the higher the cost of the deal. And if you have made your decision to opt for Sky as your broadband provider, the next step is to decide whether you want to include other services as part of your package. If you and your family enjoy watching high-quality TV dramas (many award-winning series have been commissioned and broadcast by Sky), the latest films, or even live sports such as Premier League football, then a Sky TV deal could be a sound investment. Sky also offers deals that combine its broadband packages with a subscription to the streaming service Netflix.
Sky TV and broadband customers can also enjoy access to Sky On Demand, a service that combines its internet provision with its Sky+ HD offering. By connecting the Sky + HD TV box to the Sky hub (with an Ethernet cable or a special WiFi adaptor tool), customers can stream TV programmes to their television, when they want to. However, if customers use this On Demand service to stream video, it will contribute to their total data usage.
Those who want the convenience of being able to book an engineer at any time (including weekends and evenings), or even the ability to monitor and control screen time (a good option for those with children) can also opt to bolt these services onto their package, for an additional cost.
Stay Smart With Sky Deals
Sky charges a sum for installation of its broadband services, so bear this in mind when calculating the overall price of your chosen package. However, they often run promotions that waive this set-up fee, so it’s worth checking and even waiting to make use of this offer. Sky will also often run promotions where they throw in extras, such as gift vouchers.
And it’s important to bear in mind that no matter how tempting the Sky deal may be, you will be making a formal commitment to paying this agreed amount for many months, and, should your circumstances change, this financial commitment could leave you feeling stretched, or even being forced into debt. Therefore, we recommend checking whether you can comfortably afford your chosen Sky package by using one of the many free online tools that can provide unbiased advice, such as the calculator found here https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/budgeting/budgeting/work-out-your-budget/. This tool will also help you to identify any areas where you could be saving money. For those struggling with issues connected to debt, the National Debtline, at https://nationaldebtline.org/, offers a range of free tools and services to help get you back in control.
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