Sky Broadband vs NOW Broadband

Last updated: 15 October 2023   By Lyndsey Burton

Sky offer fastest broadband speeds than NOW, as well as a better router and more options to upgrade.

Anyone who wants full fibre broadband will have to go with Sky, with the provider offering both ultrafast and gigafast options.

NOW Broadband is the better option for those on a tight budget however, with some of the cheapest prices in the UK.

For a middle-of-the-road service, Sky wins again, with their low-cost Superfast plan customisable with WiFi and router upgrades.

sky broadband vs now broadband

At a glance

Sky Broadband NOW Broadband
Monthly price From £25 £21
Upfront price £5 £10
Minimum term 18 months 12 months / 30 days
Connection Full fibre, part-fibre Part-fibre, copper
Download speeds 36Mb, 61Mb, 145Mb, 500Mb, 900Mb 36Mb, 63Mb
Upload speeds 9Mb, 16Mb, 30Mb, 60Mb, 90Mb 10Mb, 19Mb
Router Sky Broadband Hub NOW Hub Two
WiFi guarantee £6.50/mth N/a
Parental controls Sky Broadband Shield NOW Broadband Buddy
Home phone Included Included
Anytime calls £13.50/mth (inc. UK mobiles) £8/mth (inc. UK mobiles)

Latest offers

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Super Fibre 63Mb average £23 £10 12 months
offer Offer: NOW TV membership available reduce for 12 months
Superfast Broadband 61Mb average £27 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)

Which is best? Sky Broadband or NOW Broadband?

Sky offer a much superior broadband service to NOW, which makes them a clear winner, however NOW Broadband may still appeal to those wanting a cheap option.

Anyone looking for a full fibre broadband connection will only be able to choose Sky, with the provider offering deals between 36Mbps and 900Mbps. Prices are competitive with Sky too, with their Superfast Broadband package coming in as one of the UK's cheapest.

Sky broadband customers also receive a more advanced router, with more internal antennae which boost the wireless signal. Sky customers can also opt for the WiFi Max add-on, which provides WiFi boosters with a speed guarantee, and a WiFi 6 router.

NOW Broadband still provide customers with a now-replaced Sky Hub, which is really only suitable for smaller homes and those where only one or two people are sharing the connection. It's also not possible to get any WiFi upgrades with NOW.

On the other hand, NOW Broadband costs from just £21 per month for superfast speeds of 63Mbps on average, which will undoubtedly be useful to some households.

Overall, Sky offer a better broadband service than NOW, but NOW Broadband's lower prices make them a good low-cost option for those who just need a decent Internet connection.


Price

Winner: NOW Broadband is significantly cheaper than Sky broadband, although package choice is more limited.

NOW Broadband costs as little as £21 per month for Super Fibre with average download speeds of 63Mbps.

In comparison, Sky Superfast Broadband, which offers average download speeds of 61Mbps, currently costs from £25 per month for 18 months.

Here are the provider's two cheapest broadband plans:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Super Fibre 63Mb average £23 £10 12 months
offer Offer: NOW TV membership available reduce for 12 months
Superfast Broadband 61Mb average £27 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)

Both providers include line rental and a home phone line with pay as you go calls in their packages, and customers can optionally add inclusive call plans.

Anytime calls with NOW Broadband are also cheaper than with Sky, with customers paying just £8 per month for anytime calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles, while Sky charges customers £13.50 for a similar talk plan.

Both providers charge a small setup fee at the time of writing, and both reserve the right to increase prices mid-contract, although each have a history of giving customer's notice to leave.

Sky last increased prices for broadband customers in April 2023, while NOW increased prices in June 2023. In both cases customers were given notice and the option to leave their contracts early without penalty.


Speed

Winner: Sky offer faster broadband speeds than NOW, with the option for customers to take full fibre connections.

NOW only offer copper or part-fibre broadband deals, which means their top speed package has an average download speed of just 63Mbps.

In contrast, Sky offer both part-fibre and full fibre connections where Openreach FTTP is available, so customers can choose much faster broadband plans, including up to 900Mbps.

Here's a side-by-side look at the broadband speeds offered by Sky and NOW:

Sky Broadband NOW Broadband
Part-fibre (40Mb) 36Mb average 36Mb average
Part-fibre (80Mb) 61Mb average 63Mb average
Full fibre (150Mb) 145Mb average -
Full fibre (500Mb 500Mb average -
Full fibre (1Gb) 900Mb average -

These average download speeds will be received by at least 50% of Sky and NOW Broadband's customer base between the peak hours of 8pm to 10pm in the evening.

This means headline broadband speeds are more reliable than they used to be, however both Sky and NOW Broadband are signatories of Ofcom's code of conduct on broadband speeds, which means they also give customers personalised estimates and a minimum speed guarantee when they sign up.

We tested one location with both providers, and were given the following estimated speeds and minimum speed guarantee on their superfast plans:

Estimated download speed Minimum download speed guarantee
Sky Broadband 75Mb 50Mb
NOW Broadband 66.7 - 74.1Mb 60Mb

Considering NOW Broadband is owned by Sky, it's interesting they provided us with a faster minimum speed guarantee, and this was consistent on the provider's entry level part-fibre deal as well.

While the minimum speed guarantee works as a service level promise, whereby if a customer doesn't receive this speed for 3 consecutive days, and the provider doesn't resolve any issues within 30 days' notice, the customer can leave their contract penalty free.

However, the minimum speed is based on the line speed to the router, and not necessarily the speed a customer experiences when connecting to the router either through a wired or wireless connection.

This is important when we consider NOW Broadband provide customers with a rebranded Sky Q Hub, which has now been replaced by Sky with the current Sky Broadband Hub. We compare the routers in more detail below, but the NOW Hub Two has fewer antennae than the Sky Broadband Hub, and so signal strength and speed aren't as good.

Ultimately, the fastest broadband will come down to location, with Sky offer full fibre deals, so potential customers should use our broadband availability checker here.


Router

Winner: Sky offer a more up to date router than NOW Broadband, plus the option to upgrade to a WiFi 6 router.

Sky provide all customers with the Sky Broadband Hub, a dual-band WiFi 5 router, with 8 internal antennae.

In comparison, NOW Broadband customers receive the NOW Hub Two, this is a repackaged version of the Sky Q Hub, which is the predecessor of the current Sky Broadband Hub.

The NOW Hub Two is also a dual-band WiFi router, however it only has five internal antennae, and the signal strength is noticeably weaker in comparison to routers with seven or eight antennae.

The lack of intelligent mesh support in the NOW Hub Two means it's also as easy to extend the network with boosters, which means NOW Broadband is more suitable to smaller homes with fewer occupants sharing the connection.

WiFi guarantee

For particularly large homes, or where lots of people are going online at the same time, Sky broadband customers can also choose to upgrade to an even faster router.

Sky's WiFi Max add-on costs from £6.50 per month and bundles a WiFi guarantee along with the newer Sky Max Hub, which supports the latest WiFi 6 protocol.

The WiFi guarantee promises customers on full fibre plans a minimum wireless speed in every room of 25Mbps, and provides customers with up to three WiFi pods to boost coverage around their home.

Overall, where equipment is concerned, Sky broadband is a better choice than NOW broadband, with a more up to date router as well as the option to upgrade to a WiFi guarantee.


TV & broadband bundles

Winner: Sky offer a much more comprehensive TV service, and Stream bundles with Sky Broadband offer good savings.

Looking at TV and broadband bundles, Sky also beat NOW, because as well as offering a faster and more comprehensive broadband service, Sky also offer a better TV plan too.

Both providers offer savings for customers who bundle their TV service with their broadband however. Here are each of the provider's best and cheapest deals:

Package TV Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Super Fibre + Entertainment Membership 24 63Mb average £29.99
for 6 mths,
then £32.99
£10 12 months
offer Offer: NOW Entertainment £6.99/mth for 6 months
Sky Entertainment + Netflix + Superfast Broadband 150 61Mb average £38 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Save £5/mth on Sky Entertainment & Netflix + Reduced price broadband + Free setup (Ends 25/04/2024)
Super Fibre + Sports Membership 11 63Mb average £52.99 £10 12 months
offer Offer: NOW Sports £29.99/mth for 12 months
Sky Entertainment + Netflix + Sky Sports + Superfast Broadband 158 61Mb average £58 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Save £8/mth on Sky Sports + Save £5/mth on Sky Entertainment & Netflix + Reduced price broadband + Free setup (Ends 25/04/2024)

Sky TV offers over 150 live channels, as well as a range of on-demand content, and access to a number of additional apps, including Netflix, Prime Video, Paramount+, Discovery+, Peacock, Apple TV+, and Lionsgate among others.

NOW TV on the other hand offers a low-cost way to access just a few select Sky TV channels, with limitations on the service, such as no way to pause and rewind live TV, and viewing only in 720p HD by default, compared to 1080p HD with Sky.

Ultimately, while it may come down to cost, Sky is likely to be the better bet, but it's also possible to subscribe to Sky broadband and NOW TV, so don't rule out mixing the two.

Read more in our guide to Sky TV versus NOW TV.


Call plans

Winner: NOW Broadband offers cheaper anytime calls than Sky, but both providers include a home phone line as well as UK mobile calls in their plans.

All NOW and Sky broadband packages come with a home phone line as standard and included in the monthly price of the broadband package.

Neither provider offer any inclusive calls by default, but customers can choose to add either Evening & Weekend calls or Anytime calls for an extra price.

Here are the current prices of each call plan:

Evening & Weekend calls Anytime calls
Sky Broadband £5.75 £13.50
NOW Broadband £4 £8

Both providers include calls to both UK landlines and UK mobiles in each call plan. However, it's clear than that NOW continue to beat Sky on price, with the cheapest plans for UK calls.

Read more on the cheapest way to get home phone service.


Customer service

Winner: Sky broadband has a better track record for customer service compared to NOW Broadband, although both providers perform well.

Sky consistently comes in the highest rankings for broadband customer service, as well as for their TV service too.

NOW Broadband first appeared in Ofcom's quarterly complaints records in early 2022, recording just 8 complaints per 100,000 customers. In comparison, Sky reported just 4 complaints in that quarter.

Sky has consistently the lowest complaints figures of all major broadband providers, holding first place for the last four quarters consecutively. While NOW Broadband have also continued to perform well, they usually rank around third or fourth.

Sky also perform well for customer satisfaction however, having the highest number of satisfied customers with their complaints handling process in Ofcom's latest comparing service quality report.

NOW Broadband had fewer customers with a reason to complain according to this report however, at just 10%, while Sky broadband had more customers with a reason to complain at 18%.

NOW Broadband are also quicker at answering the phone, picking up in just 51 seconds on average, compared to 2 minutes 14 seconds with Sky.

Overall, as Sky have such low complaint figures and good independent analysis of their customer service, they win in this category.


Verdict: Sky Broadband or NOW Broadband?

Overall Winner: Sky offer a better broadband service compared to NOW, with customers able to sign up to full fibre deals as well as receive a more up to date router.

The choice between Sky broadband and NOW Broadband will likely come down to what a customer is looking for, with NOW Broadband holding a crown on cheapest prices.

However, with the full fibre rollout continuing, many households may find Sky is simply the better option with faster broadband speeds available, and what is likely to become wider availability too.

Sky broadband customers also get a better router, with NOW Broadband using an older Sky router. Larger households, or those with multiple people sharing the connection, can also upgrade to WiFi boosters and a WiFi 6 router with Sky, which isn't an option with NOW.

In terms of broadband and TV bundles, both providers offer good discounts for customers taking the two services, but Sky TV is ultimately much more comprehensive than NOW TV.

For those on a budget, Sky do offer competitive pricing, especially with their Superfast Broadband deal, and it's always possible to mix and match Sky broadband with a NOW TV subscription for a budget TV option with a more robust broadband package.

Read more on Sky TV vs NOW TV, or read our Sky broadband review to see more on the packages and add-ons available.

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