Sky vs Plusnet: Which is best?

Last updated: 28 February 2023   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Sky and Plusnet are two of the most popular broadband providers, but with different target markets, which is best?

Sky aims to offer a premium broadband product, with a sleek black router, coupled with excellent customer service and the option to bundle Sky TV for extra discounts.

Plusnet on the other hand, is specifically a no-frills budget provider, but their Yorkshire background makes them a strong customer favourite.

Ultimately, Plusnet beat Sky on price, but Sky offer a better all-round service. So, who wins really comes down to a household's budget and what they want from their broadband.

sky and plusnet routers

At a glance

Sky Broadband Plusnet Broadband
Price from £25 £21.99
Superfast broadband 36Mb, 59Mb 36Mb, 66Mb, 74Mb
Ultrafast broadband 145Mb, 500Mb 145Mb, 500Mb
Gigafast broadband N/a N/a
Anytime UK calls £12 £10.28
TV content Sky TV None
Customer satisfaction 84% 79%
Customer complaints 16% 20%
Minimum term 18 months 18 months
Sky Broadband Plusnet Broadband
Pros Pros Competitive pricing Cheapest pricing
Excellent customer service Most reliable broadband provider
Option to bundle Sky TV Full fibre broadband options
Cons Cons Gigafast plan currently withdrawn No whole home WiFi guarantee
Router not latest WiFi technology No home phone option for full fibre

Best deals

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Full Fibre 74 74Mb average £27.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: Save over £6/mth + No setup fee + Exclusive offers and discounts for Plusnet customers
Superfast Broadband 61Mb average £27 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)

Verdict: Who is best for...

Sky Broadband Plusnet Broadband
Price Plusnet wins
Speed Sky wins
Router Sky wins
WiFi guarantee Sky wins
Home phone Sky wins
TV bundles Sky wins
Customer service Sky wins
Overall Sky wins

Price

Winner: Plusnet broadband is cheaper than equivalent packages from Sky broadband.

Plusnet broadband is generally cheaper than Sky broadband across all package options, although the actual savings available aren't as big as you might expect.

Plusnet is only actually around £1 to £2 cheaper than Sky broadband, although their entry-level fibre plan is definitely the cheapest option at just £21.99 per month, compared to Sky's cheapest price of £25.

Upfront costs with both providers are free, with customers getting a similar spec router, although the Sky Broadband Hub does slightly take the edge.

While Sky full fibre is around £2 more expensive than Plusnet, Sky do bundle a home phone line with pay as you go calls and optional call add-ons, which isn't even an option with Plusnet.

Mid-contract price rises

Plusnet contractually increase prices each year by Consumer Price Index (CPI) + 3.9%. That means in April 2023 prices for existing customers will be going up by 14.4%.

It's big increase, which has been criticised in the cost of living crisis, but many other providers take this approach to annual price rises.

Sky don't specifically state how much they'll increase prices by, but just that they do. This means they can only increase prices by no more than inflation or customers can exit their contracts early.

For April 2023, Sky broadband prices will see increases of 8.1% on average, although this won't affect customers taking out a deal now as Sky have frozen prices for new customers throughout 2023.

Overall, Sky's approach to mid-contract price rises is fairer, and cheaper, than Plusnet, which could equate to cheaper costs over the life of a contract.

Read more about why broadband prices go up.


Broadband deals

Winner: Sky offer a wider choice of broadband package, with a home phone line included as standard. While Plusnet are slightly cheaper than Sky, it's marginal.

Sky and Plusnet both offer a range of superfast and ultrafast broadband plans, offering average download speeds from 36Mb right the way up to 500Mb.

Sky have previously sold a gigabit-capable package called Gigafast, which offered 900Mb average download speeds, however they've currently paused sale to new customers while they work on improving their network.

Plusnet don't offer a gigabit-capable package and are unlikely to do so, as BT, Plusnet's owner, positions the Plusnet brand as a budget friendly option, while those looking for gigabit speeds will turn to BT or EE, they're other subsidiary company.

Both Sky and Plusnet resell broadband on the Openreach network, that means availability between the two providers will be matched across all packages.

Superfast fibre

Sky offers two superfast broadband plans; Superfast 35 and Superfast. However, while Superfast 35 was launched as a budget-friendly entry-level plan at the start of 2022, it's often more expensive than the faster option.

Plusnet also offer two superfast packages with similar speed options. Here's how they compare side-by-side:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Unlimited Fibre 66Mb average £24.99 Free 24 months
Unlimited Fibre Extra 66Mb average £26.99 Free 24 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)
Superfast 35 Broadband 36Mb average £27 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £6.50/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)

Plusnet is noticeably cheaper than Sky for superfast broadband, and their entry-level deal at just £21.99 per month will be attractive to those looking for the cheapest option.

Both providers are currently offering free setup, and the minimum term runs for 18-months.

It's worth noting that Plusnet also offer a full fibre plan with 74Mb average speeds, which costs the same as the Unlimited Fibre Extra plan. While it doesn't come with a home phone line it will provide a more reliable connection so is worth considering as a cost-neutral upgrade.

Ultrafast fibre

Plusnet was fairly late to the table in terms of offering full fibre, but they did launch three speed options in August 2022; 74Mb, 145Mb and 500Mb.

Sky also offer a choice of full fibre packages, their Ultrafast and Ultrafast Plus packages offer average download speeds of 145Mb and 500Mb. Their 900Mb plan, Gigafast, is currently paused while Sky updates their network.

Here are the prices of the currently available packages side-by-side:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Full Fibre 145 145Mb average £27.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: Save over £12/mth + No setup fee + Exclusive offers and discounts for Plusnet customers
Ultrafast Broadband 145Mb average £28 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)
Full Fibre 500 500Mb average £33.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: Save over £19/mth + No setup fee + Exclusive offers and discounts for Plusnet customers
Ultrafast Plus Broadband 500Mb average £33 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)

Plusnet are £2.01 per month cheaper than Sky for ultrafast fibre broadband, but it's worth bearing in mind Plusnet full fibre comes without a home phone line and there's no option to add one.

Sky on the other hand include a home phone line with pay as you go calls as standard in all their packages, and customers can take a call plan too.

It's also worth noting, though it will only affect a small minority of customers, but Sky Ultrafast broadband is also available in G.Fast enabled areas. This is where a street cabinet has been upgraded to offer faster speeds, but the line is still copper to the home.

While G.Fast has been largely superseded by the fibre to the home rollout, it does give Sky slightly greater availability for ultrafast broadband than Plusnet.

Read more in our Sky broadband review, and our Plusnet broadband review.


Broadband speed

Winner: Sky offer faster real-world speeds on their superfast plans, and have a gigabit-capable package despite it currently being paused.

Sky and Plusnet both offer superfast and full fibre broadband speeds, although Sky has a faster gigabit broadband plan, although it's currently been paused to new sales while they improve their network.

Sky also had faster real-world speeds in the most recent testing than Plusnet, with their Superfast package delivering 64.30Mb on average over 24 hours, compared to Plusnet's 63.16Mb equivalent plan.

Sky offer the following broadband speeds:

Download speed (average) Upload speed (average)
Superfast 35 36Mb 9Mb
Superfast 59Mb 16Mb
Ultrafast 145Mb 27Mb
Ultrafast Plus 500Mb 90Mb

Advertised average speeds, as shown here, must be experienced by at least 50% of a provider's customer base during the peak hours of 8pm to 10pm in the evening.

Here are Plusnet's average broadband speeds:

Download speed (average) Upload speed (average)
Unlimited Fibre 36Mb 9Mb
Unlimited Fibre Extra 66Mb 17Mb
Full Fibre 74 74Mb 20Mb
Full Fibre 145 145Mb 30Mb
Full Fibre 500 500Mb 75Mb

We can see from Ofcom's independent research into broadband speeds, Sky actually perform better in these tests than their given average speed, while Plusnet perform slightly worse:

Ofcom average speeds, published March 2023
Advertised average speed Over 24hrs Peak time
(8-10pm weekdays)
Sky 61Mb 64.30Mb 62.01Mb
Plusnet 66Mb 64.15Mb 63.57Mb
Sky 145Mb 150.22Mb 150.46Mb

While Sky have a faster average speed over 24 hours than Plusnet on their equivalent superfast package, Plusnet are marginally faster at peak times. Overall, this suggests the providers perform quite similarly on real world speeds.

Plusnet full fibre doesn't yet appear in this research as they only launched their packages in August 2022.

Overall, until Sky bring back their Gigafast package they're somewhat neck-and-neck compared to Plusnet on broadband speeds. Yet there slightly faster performance in real-world tests keeps them in the lead.


Broadband routers

Winner: Sky's Broadband Hub is slightly more advanced than the Plusnet Hub Two, which doesn't fully support mesh.

Launched in 2021, Plusnet now offer all their fibre broadband customers the Plusnet Hub Two. It's a rebranded version of the BT Smart Hub 2, which is still BT's current router.

The Sky Broadband Hub was launched in September 2019, but is a more superior router than the Plusnet Hub Two.

Here are the main specifications of each router:

Sky Broadband Hub Plusnet Hub Two
WiFi protocol 5 5
WiFi bands Dual Dual
Intelligent mesh Yes No
Security WPA2 WPA2
Antennae 7 7
Ethernet LAN 4 x 1Gb 3 x 1Gb

The main drawback to the Plusnet Hub Two however, is that unlike the BT Smart Hub 2, it doesn't allow the router to be used as an access point when running a mesh setup.

This means customers with larger homes, or those who struggle with a strong wireless signal around their property won't be able to extend their network using mesh boosters as easily. While it can be done, customers will have to purchase third party mesh boosters and then run the Plusnet Hub Two in modem only mode.

The Sky Broadband Hub on the other hand offers mesh technology, with the option to take a whole home WiFi guarantee for an extra £5 per month. This guarantee promises minimum speeds of 3Mb in every room, and will supply mesh extenders to achieve this.

Overall, while the Plusnet Hub Two is built on the BT Smart Hub 2 router, it lacks the more advanced features like mesh that the Sky Broadband Hub offers.


Call plans

Winner: Sky include a home phone line as standard on all their broadband deals, while Plusnet only offer a home phone with their superfast fibre plans.

Sky's broadband packages cost a little more than Plusnet's, but they do come with a home phone line as standard, which isn't available with Plusnet full fibre.

Sky customers will get pay as you go calls on all plans, and they can upgrade to off-peak or anytime calls, as well as an international talk plan too.

Here is the latest pricing for Sky call plans:

Inclusive calls Monthly price
Talk Evenings & Weekends Extra UK landlines and mobiles 7pm-7am Mon-Fri and all weekend £5
Talk Anytime Extra UK landlines and mobiles at any time £12
Talk International Extra UK landlines and mobiles at any time, and landline calls to 50 destinations £14

Plusnet superfast fibre customers get a home phone line included, and they can take one of four call plans depending on their needs. Plusnet full fibre broadband comes without a home phone line and there is no option to add one.

Here is the latest pricing for Plusnet call plans:

Inclusive calls Monthly price
Evenings & Weekend UK UK landline calls at the evening and weekend, plus 1000 UK mobile minutes £5.71
Unlimited UK UK landlines calls at anytime, plus 2000 UK mobile minutes £10.28
Anytime International UK landline calls at anytime, plus 300 international minutes £10.28

Plusnet's plans are a little cheaper, but they come with a limited number of minutes to UK mobiles, while Sky's plans include unlimited UK mobile calls.

Plusnet Anytime International also doesn't include any calls to UK mobiles at all, so customers who make those calls will also need to factor in the Mobile bolt-on for 100 anytime minutes to UK mobiles.

Overall, Sky is the better bet than Plusnet for those who use their home phone regularly. It comes as standard with faster full fibre packages, and the call plans offer better value for money.


TV

Winner: Sky TV is a comprehensive premium TV service, while Plusnet no longer offer a TV plan.

Plusnet decided to scrap their YouView TV service in January 2021, and announced it would be closing for existing customers as well in August 2021.

While Plusnet broadband customers can get a discount on BT Sport with Sky TV, or the BT Sport Monthly Pass, they no longer offer any kind of TV platform themselves.

Sky on the other hand are well known for their comprehensive TV service, having extended their offering to those without a satellite dish in October 2022 by launching their Sky Stream box.

Sky TV can be taken without broadband, but customers who bundle both services will get a discount of around £5 per month over taking the services separately. This makes Sky broadband more cost effective to bundle with Sky TV than Plusnet broadband.

Here is the latest bundle pricing:

Package TV Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Sky TV + Broadband Superfast 400 61Mb average £40 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee

Overall, Sky easily win this category as Plusnet no longer offer a TV service.


Customer Service

Winner: Plusnet have a reasonably strong customer service performance for a budget provider, but Sky ultimately have the best track record.

Sky have an unparalleled customer service record, which we cover in depth in our guide to broadband customer service. They also have the lowest complaints in the industry, and have done for several years.

Plusnet have improved their complaints record in recent years, but still have just above the industry average of complaints in the most recent Q3 2022 report.

Here's how Plusnet and Sky look side-by-side for customer service metrics:

Sky Plusnet
Satisfaction with overall service 84% 79%
Satisfaction with speed of service 82% 78%
Satisfaction with complaints handling 54% 43%
Customers with a reason to complain 16% 30%
Complaints resolved on first contact 40% 30%
Complaints per 100,000 customers Q1-Q3 2022 11 36
Average call waiting time 2 minutes, 17 seconds 2 minutes, 7 seconds

Sky outperform Plusnet in all of the above customer service categories, with Sky consistently scoring above the industry average, while Plusnet are just below it.

Ofcom's research did find customers of both Sky and Plusnet were more likely to recommend their provider to a friend, out of just four providers, including BT and EE.

Our own research into customer satisfaction of 2000 broadband customers found the majority of Plusnet customers rated the provider 5 out of 5 for customer service, while Sky customers rated their provider 4 out of 5.

Plusnet are also known to be one of the most reliable broadband providers, with the lowest number of faults in the market, and the highest rate of fault resolution on first contact.

Both Sky and Plusnet have UK based call centres, with Plusnet sticking to their Yorkshire branded roots.

Overall, while Plusnet have seen improvements over recent years, Sky is unmatched for the best customer service in the market.


Special offers

Plusnet and Sky both offer promotional deals for new and switching customers. They change frequently, but these are the latest ones:

Offer Terms

Sky Broadband Ultrafast just £28/mth for 18 months

18 month minimum term. £5 setup fee.(Refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable). £46/mth after 18 months. Prices may change during the contract period.

Offer Terms

Plusnet Full Fibre broadband from just £27.99/mth for 145Mbps download speeds

24 month minimum term. No set up cost. £40.04/mth after 24 months. Price rises each year on 31 March by CPI + 3.9%


Plusnet Fibre broadband just £25.99/mth

Hurry! Offer ends in 6 days!
29 May 2024

24 month minimum term. No set up cost. £30/mth after 24 months. Price rises each year on 31 March by CPI + 3.9%


Verdict: Sky or Plusnet broadband?

Overall winner: Plusnet have more competitive pricing than Sky, but Sky is our winner due to their range of extras, optional TV plan and excellent customer service record.

Plusnet and Sky are two popular, but different, providers, with Plusnet marketed as a no-frills budget broadband service, and Sky a more premium offering.

However, Plusnet also won our Most Reliable Broadband award, with the lowest number of reported faults across all providers, as well as the lowest number of customers who have to contact them more than once about the same fault.

Sky have great service too, winning our Best Customer Service award and having the lowest level of complaints in the industry across broadband, landline and pay TV sectors.

Both providers now offer full fibre broadband, and so the main difference between the two in terms of packages is Sky's home phone plan on full fibre broadband and the option to bundle Sky TV, neither of which customers can do with Plusnet.

Ultimately, the choice between Plusnet and Sky will likely come down to household preferences, whether a good service for the cheapest price is the deciding factor, or if people want a home phone, optional TV service, or just the assurance of the best customer care.

Read more head-to-head guides such as Sky vs BT and Plusnet vs BT.

Comments

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