Sky vs BT Broadband

Last updated: 16 October 2023   By Lyndsey Burton

Sky and BT broadband are both premium providers with good customer service and decent equipment and add-ons.

Sky broadband has surpassed BT broadband this year, with the introduction of their WiFi Max plan and WiFi 6 Max Hub router.

BT still offer a premium-level broadband service however, with strong customer service performance and a range of extra add-ons.

Ultimately, if we had to pick, we'd choose Sky, their service is on a par with BT, yet their prices are just that bit cheaper.

sky or bt

At a glance

Sky Broadband BT Broadband
Monthly price From £25 From £27.99
Upfront price £5 Up to £29.99
Minimum term 18 months 24 months
Connection Full fibre, part-fibre Full fibre, part-fibre, copper
Download speeds 36Mb, 61Mb, 145Mb, 500Mb, 900Mb 36Mb, 50Mb, 67Mb, 150Mb, 500Mb, 900Mb
Upload speeds 9Mb, 16Mb, 30Mb, 60Mb, 90Mb 9Mb, 18Mb, 30Mb, 73Mb, 110Mb
Router Sky Broadband Hub / Sky Max Hub BT Smart Hub 2
WiFi guarantee £6.50/mth £10/mth
Parental controls Sky Broadband Shield BT Parental Controls
Home phone Included £5/mth
Anytime calls £13.50/mth (inc. UK mobiles) £18/mth (inc. UK mobiles)

Best deals

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Superfast Broadband 61Mb average £27 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)
Fibre 2 67Mb average £36.99 £31.99 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + + (Ends 25/04/2024)

Price

Winner: Sky broadband is cheaper than BT broadband across all equivalent package speeds.

Sky broadband costs less than BT with their Superfast plan coming in at just £25 per month for 18 months, compared to BT's cheapest package at £27.99 per month for 24 months, which is also 25Mbps slower on average.

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Superfast Broadband 61Mb average £27 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)
Fibre Essential 36Mb average £33.99 £31.99 24 months
offer Offer: Reduced price for 24 months + (Ends 25/04/2024)

Prices for full fibre broadband are also cheaper with Sky, with Sky Ultrafast, Sky Ultrafast Plus, and Sky Gigafast all costing a pound or more less than the equivalent plans with BT.

Cheaper prices with Sky carry on to setup and activation, home phone service, inclusive call plans, and whole home WiFi guarantees as well.

Sky TV and broadband bundles are also generally cheaper than BT TV and broadband, as we look at in our guide to BT TV or Sky TV, yet BT TV is cheaper for TNT Sports.

Annual price rises

Both Sky and BT increase prices on an annual basis, and these rises are contained within their broadband contract.

However, while BT specifies an annual price rise of Consumer Price Index (CPI) + 3.9%, Sky only say that prices may change. The difference means Sky broadband customers are usually given the option to end their contract early if prices go up, while BT broadband customers won't have this option.

In Spring 2023, BT increased prices for its broadband customers by 14.4%, while Sky increased prices by around 8.1%.

Read more about annual price rises on broadband.


Broadband packages

Winner: Sky broadband have an equivalent package range as BT broadband, but prices are generally cheaper.

Sky and BT broadband both resell connections over the Openreach FTTC and FTTP networks, which means package choice between the two is fairly similar.

Both providers also aim to target customers looking for a more premium service, with both also owning a no-frills budget provider in Plusnet (BT) and NOW Broadband (Sky).

The fastest superfast, or part-fibre, plans now offer the best value for money for households looking for an entry-level deal:.

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Superfast Broadband 61Mb average £27 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)
Fibre Essential 36Mb average £33.99 £31.99 24 months
offer Offer: Reduced price for 24 months + (Ends 25/04/2024)
Fibre 1 50Mb average £29.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + Save £5/mth and free setup (was £31.99) (Ends 25/04/2024)
Fibre 2 67Mb average £36.99 £31.99 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + + (Ends 25/04/2024)
Superfast 35 Broadband 36Mb average £38 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £6.50/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)

Sky Superfast Broadband is their cheapest plan, despite being faster than Sky Superfast 35.

In comparison, BT's Fibre 2 is also cheaper than their slower Fibre 1 plan, and comes with free setup, compared to £29.99 on Fibre 1, and £9.99 on Fibre Essential.

The main difference between the two providers here is that BT broadband comes with a longer minimum term of 24 months, while Sky only contracts customers for 18 months.

Sky also include line rental and a home phone line with pay as you go calls in the listed prices as standard. Whereas BT customers have to opt-in for a digital home phone line which costs an extra £5 per month on top of the prices listed here.

Full fibre broadband

BT and Sky both provide broadband connections in full fibre enabled areas where the Openreach FTTP network has expanded to.

So far that's over 11 million premises, with the network provider aiming to reach a total of 25 million by the end of 2026.

Customers can check availability in their area on our broadband deals page, but here are the prices of each provider's full fibre packages:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Ultrafast Broadband 145Mb average £29 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)
Full Fibre 100 150Mb average £29.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + Save £9/mth and free setup (was £31.99) (Ends 25/04/2024)
Ultrafast Plus Broadband 500Mb average £32 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)
Full Fibre 500 500Mb average £34.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + Save £15/mth and free setup (was £31.99) (Ends 25/04/2024)
Gigafast Broadband 900Mb average £42 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)
Full Fibre 900 900Mb average £59.99 £31.99 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card (Ends 25/04/2024)

These deals are fairly similar on a like-for-like basis, with Sky broadband only coming in a pound or two cheaper than BT. However, as mentioned, BT customers who want a home phone line need to pay an extra £5 per month.

Overall, we think Sky broadband is better than BT broadband for full fibre with slightly cheaper pricing and the option to upgrade to a WiFi 6 router, which we look at below.

Read more in our BT broadband review and our Sky broadband review.


Broadband speed

Winner: Draw - both BT and Sky offer gigabit-capable broadband speeds, although BT has slightly faster upload speeds.

Sky and BT broadband offer similar broadband speed options, with both providing a gigabit-capable deal with average download speeds of 900Mbps.

Here are the average download and upload speeds of BT broadband:

Download speed (average) Upload speed (average)
Fibre Essential 36Mb 9Mb
Fibre 1 50Mb 9Mb
Fibre 2 67Mb 18Mb
Full Fibre 100 150Mb 30Mb
Full Fibre 500 500Mb 73Mb
Full Fibre 900 900Mb 110Mb

Sky offer a similar range of packages to BT, with both providers using the same underlying network:

Download speed (average) Upload speed (average)
Superfast 35 36Mb 9Mb
Superfast 59Mb 16Mb
Ultrafast 145Mb 30Mb
Ultrafast Plus 500Mb 60Mb
Gigafast 900Mb 90Mb

Sky's average broadband speeds are slightly slower than BT in some cases. Broadband providers have to advertise the speeds at least 50% of their customers receive during the peak hours of 8pm to 10pm in the evening. So, it's possible Sky broadband customers are getting slower speeds than BT customers on average.

Real-world research by Ofcom into broadband speeds, also found BT is delivering marginally faster speeds than Sky broadband:

Ofcom speeds research, published September 2023
Average speed over 24 hours Average peak time speed (8pm - 10pm)
Sky 61Mb FTTC 64.65 63.57
BT 67Mb FTTC 67.15 65.96
Sky 145Mb FTTP 146.58 146.90
BT 150Mb FTTP 149.05 148.69

Minimum guaranteed speeds

While advertised average speeds are now a more reliable indicator, both BT and Sky broadband offer customers personalised estimates and a minimum download speed guarantee when they sign up.

We tested the same location with BT and Sky and were given the following speed estimates and guarantee on an entry-level full fibre plan:

Estimated download speed Minimum download speed guarantee
Sky Superfast 75Mb 50Mb
BT Full Fibre 2 74Mb 34Mb

Sky Superfast offers a faster minimum guaranteed speed compared to an equivalent package from BT broadband.

Looking at their fastest plans, this switches around however, with BT Full Fibre 900 offering a faster minimum speed guarantee than Sky Gigafast:

Estimated download speed Minimum download speed guarantee
Sky Gigafast 780 - 930Mb 600Mb
BT Full Fibre 900 900Mb 700Mb

The minimum speed guarantees on the 150Mb and 500Mb plans are more in line with other between BT and Sky. But the differences on the other packages are worth considering.

It's not entirely clear why these differences exist, however, the minimum speed guarantee works like a service guarantee in that if customers don't get these speeds they can exit their contract without penalty.

Read more about broadband speeds and how they work.


Router

Winner: Sky offer customers the option to upgrade to a newer WiFi 6 router, otherwise the provided routers are similar.

Sky broadband customers are provided with the Sky Broadband Hub, a dual-band WiFi 5 router with 8 internal antennae.

However, Sky customers can opt for the WiFi Max add-on for an extra £6.50 per month, which bundles a WiFi guarantee with the new Sky Max Hub router. The Sky Max Hub sees upgrades to the wireless protocol supporting WiFi 6, as well as updated security from WPA2 to WPA3.

sky hub and bt smart hub

Sky Broadband Hub and BT Smart Hub

BT broadband customers, on the other hand, are provided with the BT Smart Hub 2, which is also a dual-band WiFi 5 router, and has 7 internal antennae. There are no options to upgrade from this router however, so BT don't yet offer a WiFi 6 router.

Here are the specifications of the Sky and BT routers side-by-side:

BT Smart Hub 2 Sky Broadband Hub Sky Max Hub
WiFi protocol 5 5 6
WiFi bands Dual-band Dual-band Dual-band
Intelligent mesh Yes Yes Yes
Security WPA2 WPA2 WPA3
Antennae 7 8 8
Ethernet LAN 4 x 1Gb 4 x 1Gb 4 x 1Gb

The BT Smart Hub 2 supports intelligent mesh, which means the wireless network can be seamlessly extended using mesh boosters. BT call these boosters WiFi discs, and they're included in the BT Complete WiFi add-on.

This router also hosts other advanced features, such as smart wireless channel selection and seven internal antennae for a stronger signal. However, it was first launched in November 2018 and is lacking the latest technology including support for WiFi 6 and WPA3 security.

The Sky Broadband Hub is a little newer than the BT Smart Hub 2, having been launched in 2019, yet it offers a similar level of features.

It does support intelligent mesh with the Sky Broadband Boost add-on, but this service is now only available to Sky Q customers, with all others needing to purchase the WiFi Max add-on instead.

Sky's WiFi Max add-on provides customers with an updated router as well as WiFi boosters, so they'll receive the newer Sky Max Hub instead.

The Sky Max Hub supports the latest WiFi 6 protocol, and has more advanced security, supporting WPA3 encryption. The WiFi boosters included with the add-on use Plume, which is the same equipment Virgin Media uses, and promises minimum wireless download speeds of 25Mbps in every room for full fibre broadband customers.

Overall, while the standard routers from Sky and BT are very similar, Sky win the router category for giving customers the option to upgrade to a WiFi 6 model.


WiFi guarantee

Winner: Sky's new WiFi Max promises minimum download speeds of 25Mbps in every room, while BT Complete WiFi only promises a 'strong' signal.

Both Sky and BT broadband offer customers the ability to upgrade to a whole home wireless guarantee.

These service extras provide customers with up to three additional WiFi booster devices, which when placed around a home can seamlessly extend a wireless network over a larger area, helping to boost wireless speeds significantly.

There are some noticeable differences between the guarantees offered by Sky and BT however, with the main details being:

Sky WiFi Max BT Complete WiFi
Monthly price £6.50 £10
Minimum term 18 months 24 months
Minimum speed Up to 25Mb 'Strong' signal on MyBT app
Guarantee 1 months broadband and WiFi Max refund + guarantee cancellation £100 bill credit
Other extras Yes No

BT Complete WiFi gives customers a £100 bill credit if they don't receive a 'strong' signal on the MyBT app in every room of their home. However, the add-on can't be cancelled so customers will have to continue paying for the devices for the 24-month term.

In contrast, Sky promise full fibre broadband customers a minimum download speed over wireless of 25Mbps in every room. If they don't get that they'll get one month's broadband and WiFi Max subscription refunded, and the ability to cancel the add-on without penalty.

Sky part-fibre customers can also benefit from WiFi Max, but they're only promised minimum download speeds of 10Mbps over WiFi.

Sky Broadband Boost and Sky WiFi Max also include a few extras, including daily line checks, off-peak engineer visits (if required) and 2GB of mobile data for a Sky Mobile SIM if their fixed line broadband goes down at all.

BT customers who want a mobile backup service, will have to upgrade to Hybrid Connect, which costs an additional £7 per month, or BT Halo 3.

Overall, both BT and Sky offer decent whole home WiFi guarantees, ranking in our top three out of all major providers. However, we think Sky's plan is just slightly better with the inclusion of a WiFi 6 router in the deal.


TV & broadband bundles

Winner: Sky TV and broadband is cheaper than BT TV and broadband, and Sky TV is also a more comprehensive service than BT TV.

While it's possible to sign up to Sky TV separately, those who bundle a plan with Sky broadband can save more overall.

BT TV on the other hand is only available to BT broadband customers, and while its low-cost as an add-on, it's ultimately more expensive than equivalent TV and broadband plans from Sky.

Here are some of the cheapest deals available with Sky Entertainment and Sky Sports channels:

Package TV Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
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)
Entertainment + Fibre 2 96 67Mb average £56.99 £61.99 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + (Ends 25/04/2024)
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)
Big Sport + Fibre 2 90 67Mb average £81.99 £61.99 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card (Ends 25/04/2024)

Sky's new Stream Puck box means customers no longer need to have or install a satellite dish on the side of their homes as the service is now available over the Internet.

Sky TV includes over 150 live TV channels, while BT TV is more limited, offering access to just 24 channels through NOW Entertainment and Freeview.

Sky TV also includes Eurosport as standard and customers can optionally add Sky Sports and TNT Sports packs. BT TV customers need to take either the Sports or Big Sports plans to get sports content.

Overall, BT TV is the cheaper way to watch TNT Sports, but for all other requirements, Sky TV is generally cheaper, especially when customers take it with Sky broadband.

Read more in our BT TV or Sky TV guide.


Call plans

Winner: Sky include a home phone line as standard with all their broadband deals, while BT charge customers extra.

Sky broadband customers get a home phone line with pay as you go calls included in all plans. For BT broadband customers, they have to opt-in for a digital phone line which costs an extra £5 per month.

Looking at inclusive call plans, Sky are also cheaper than BT, with unlimited anytime calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles costing £13.50 per month with Sky, while BT charge £18.

Here are the prices of Sky and BT call plans side-by-side:

Call plan Inclusive calls Monthly price
Sky Pay as you go calls None Included
Sky Talk Evenings & Weekends Extra Evening & weekend calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles £5.75
Sky Talk Anytime Extra Anytime calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles £13.50
BT Pay as you go calls None £5
BT Unlimited Minutes Anytime calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles £18

Overall, Sky offer broadband customers a cheaper home phone option, with pay as you go calls included as standard and cheaper anytime calls available.


Customer service

Winner: Sky has a better complaints record than BT, but both providers have similar levels of customer satisfaction.

Sky have a long history of performing well for broadband customer service, and they've had the fewest number of complaints amongst all major providers for the past four quarters.

BT also performs well however, with complaints levels often around or below average, ranking as one of the third or fourth least complained about providers.

In addition, BT and Sky both have high levels of satisfaction among existing customers, although Sky have slightly fewer customers with a reason to complain.

Sky Broadband BT Broadband
Overall satisfaction 82% 83%
Satisfaction with speed 80% 80%
Satisfaction with complaints handling 55% 55%
Customers with a reason to complain 18% 19%
Complaints resolved on first contact 41% 44%

Both providers also have entirely UK-based call centres, which can suggest a good link to better customer service provision.

Overall, while BT has strong performance in some categories, Sky have consistently less complaints, along with equally high satisfaction levels.


Verdict: Sky Broadband or BT Broadband?

Overall Winner: Sky offer a similar broadband service to BT, but they have cheaper prices on broadband, home phone, WiFi extras, and TV plans.

Sky broadband and BT broadband are both premium providers offering customers a good experience with high levels of satisfaction and low complaints.

While features and extras are generally matched between Sky and BT, Sky consistently offer lower prices than BT, making them a better choice financially.

Sky's new WiFi Max add-on includes a WiFi 6 router which exceeds the technology on offer by BT, although it's likely only time before BT catches up here.

Looking at broadband and TV bundles Sky is also cheaper than BT, except where a customer's main priority is TNT Sports. Sky TV is also full 1080p HD as standard, while BT customers have to pay more for this.

Ultimately the closer you make equivalent packages between Sky and BT, the cheaper Sky starts to look, yet features are often on a par or even better.

Comments

Leslie John Hooker
11 April 2023

Be very careful if you have your Broadband with Sky which includes your landline. Because if you leave Sky they cannot guarantee that you will get back your Land Number. This happened to me, it took me 4 Months for openreach that's part of BT to get my number back. So if they tell you, its not a problem, then don't believe them.

Which broadband deals are available in your area?

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