Now known as Sky Limited, Europe’s biggest entertainment company and pay-TV broadcaster began in the UK as Sky Television. Initially a satellite TV provider, they made the transition to digital, and later pioneered with pause-rewind, recording and HD TV.
Sky have broadened their focus to include broadband packages, and as early as 2012 were offering broadband speeds of up to 58Mb. They now supply TV and broadband packages to more than 23 million customers across Europe, with 13 million UK customers. This makes them the UK’s largest TV provider and second-largest internet service provider (ISP).
Sky Fibre Broadband
Since becoming a broadband provider in 2006, they have gone on to become one of the country’s largest ISPs with over 6 million broadband subscribers. A pioneer of superfast packages, you can now enjoy average speeds of up to 63Mb with Sky Fibre Max. Sky are so confident about the quality of this service that they offer the Fibre Max Speed Guarantee: if within your first 30 days your download speeds drop below the Minimum Access Line Speed quoted in your confirmation letter, you can claim your money back.
Sky seem to have reason for being this confident. They have compared favourably with other major providers for speeds and reliability in recent years, last year receiving the fewest complaints per 100,000 customers of all the major providers according to Ofcom.
But what are these speeds that Sky meet so reliably? And how much will they cost you? Here’s a breakdown of the broadband packages Sky offer, the corresponding prices representing what you’d pay before adding TV or other packages:
Sky tend to push customers either toward basic broadband or their Fibre Max deal, with the mid-speed package costing about the same as their highest. It's important to remember that all fibre packages also come with an initial setup fee of £50, and be careful - on any package not advertised as "unlimited" they'll cap your monthly usage at 25Gb.
Thinking of a Sky TV package?
Of course, Sky TV needs no introduction. Whether your thing is cricket on Sky Sports or rom coms on Sky Movies, we all know the best place to go for TV deals. With something for everyone, Sky offers over 300 channels and 60 catch-up, and you can custom make your own TV package to suit your preferences. You can also watch Sky TV on the go on your tablet or mobile at no extra cost, so you don’t have to be at home to get the most out of your deal.
But is it worth the money? Sky TV might be the best, but it’s widely regarded as a bit of a money pit. If I can get my fix of series and films with a £6 Netflix subscription and most Premier League games are on BT Sport now anyway, why would I bother?
Well, let’s take a closer look to see if it's worth it. All Sky deals begin with the £22/m Sky Entertainment package, which acts as a kind of base to which you can add the following:
If you choose not to add anything, the Sky Entertainment package already comes with over 300 Sky TV channels and 60 Catch Up channels as standard. You will also receive the Sky Q box with whatever package you choose - and expect a set-up cost of £20, which also applies to all deals.
How do Sky broadband reviews look?
Perhaps surprisingly given their positive Ofcom reports, Sky generally receives abysmal ratings from the vast majority of its clients on the review site Trustpilot. Of 3,373 reviews, 78% gave Sky the worst possible rating of 1 star, and a theme common to these reviews is that if they could score them worse they would.
Curiously, despite being well regarded by Ofcom relative to other providers with regards to speeds and reliability, it is precisely these that reviewers point to as the most disappointing. Several reviews refer to slow speeds or regular complete drops in their connection - one reviewer describes the service as “horrendous,” and another states that “regular browsing is a pain” and that a “video of 20 mins changes into 2h watching.”
All reviewers seem to be in agreement about price - Sky is expensive, and they have a reputation for taking advantage and ramping up costs whenever they can. As one reviewer put it: “all that pain for £33!!! What the hell Sky?!”
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Sky Q Hub
An often cited problem with Sky Broadband has been its aging Sky Hub router, but users can now upgrade to Sky Q and receive the new Sky Q Hub. The new hub allows you to pause, rewind and record TV, and you can also record up to three shows at once as you watch a fourth. It also allows you to store up to 500 hours of TV.
Apart from this, the “Sky Q experience” allows you to watch all the channels in your Sky TV package in different rooms throughout your home. You can receive Sky Q Mini boxes, which allow you to watch different channels in different rooms all at the same time. The boxes are wireless and don’t need to connect to your dish, and you can connect up to four of them at a time and watch on up to three TVs at once depending on your deal. You can even pause on one TV and resume on another!
The TV features of Sky’s new hub are widely lauded but as a router it has come in for some criticism among reviewers who have associated it with Sky’s poor service of late. One reviewer complained of the router’s “extremely poor quality in terms of the WiFi range.” So it’s possible that if you’re thinking of opting for Sky purely for broadband, you won’t be too pleased with the service, whereas if you’re in it for their TV deals you’ll be over the moon.
Looking for how to cancel Sky? You should know that most Sky products have a minimum contract length of 12 or 18 months. Early termination charges depend on the package you are signed up to. You should also be aware that your cancellation period depends on your service: to cancel Sky TV you need to give at least 31 days’ notice, whereas Sky Talk and Broadband requires only 14.
While everything depends, one thing you can be certain of is that they will try to charge you an exit fee. Luckily you can find out exactly how much they’re going to charge you in advance depending on your deal. Here’s how much cancelling a TV deal would set you back:
|Sky TV Package||£14.92|
|Sky Q Multiscreen||£10.88|
|Sky Q Bundle||£27.66|
|Sky Q Silver Bundle (inc. Sky Q Bundle)||£37.54|
|Sky Q Silver Bundle (with another package)||£9.88|
And here’s how much cancelling your broadband deal before it ends would cost you:
|Sky Broadband Unlimited||£9.25|
|Sky Broadband Unlimited Pro||£11.32|
|Sky Broadband Everyday||£2.57|
|Sky Fibre/Fibre Lite||£1.24|
|Sky Fibre Max||£11.10|
|Sky Fibre Unlimited||£9.49|
|Sky Fibre Unlimited Plus||£10.60|
|Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro||£15.23|
So, would we recommend Sky broadband and TV? We guess it depends on what you’re after. On their broadband we’ve received mixed reports - or, if you just listen to customers, not so mixed - so we hesitate to push them on you. For TV, Sky remains top of the tree and their newer services, such as the “Sky Q experience”, have enhanced their offer further in this area. But is it worth the money?
We’d argue that on the whole you can probably find a better deal elsewhere, with Sky’s services generally coming in at a bit of an expense. If you’re willing to fork out for the best TV package, however, it’s difficult for us to argue that Sky is where it’s at!