Sky's broadband speeds bounce up to 16Mb

julia kukiewicz
By Julia Kukiewicz

broadband speeds

SKY broadband got faster over the past few weeks, at least according to their adverts.

Speeds on the Sky website bounced from 'up to 14Mb' to 'up to 15Mb' a few weeks back and have since jumped again, to 'up to 16Mb'.

The speed bump might be the result of Sky's takeover of O2's broadband business.

The O2/Be network has long had a slight edge on its competitors when it comes to speeds while, according to the latest Ofcom research, Sky has the slowest average speeds of any provider.

Fastest ADSL2+

Based on these advertised speeds, Sky are now offering the fastest non-fibre broadband around: only BT and Plusnet advertise the same 'up to' speed.

TalkTalk and EE (Everything Everywhere) currently list 'up to 14Mb' speeds on their sites.

10% of a provider's customers have to be able to access the 'up to' speed for them to advertise it so Sky's news does show that a small minority are getting better speeds.

Or rather, as seems much more likely, that O2's broadband is fast enough that their (now former) customers can easily hog the top 10%.

But what do the top 10% tell us about the quality of the broadband in general?

Unsurprisingly, not very much. According to Ofcom's last speed test - released at the beginning of this month but with data from May - Sky are the slowest ADSL2+ provider.

Useful Links
More on Sky: here »
More on 'up to': here »
Market overview: here »

Averaged over 24 hours, the average Sky broadband users gets 7Mb to 8.8Mb.

The peak time average is a little lower, 6.9Mb to 8.7Mb.

These averages exclude all the O2/Be connections bought by Sky so we'll have to wait and see whether the acquisition increases speeds across the board once the networks are combined later on this year.

Even at their peak, O2 only took around 3% of the UK's broadband market.

They'd been in a steady decline even before the sale to Sky: in 2011 they lost 46,300 customers overall.

But the sale doesn't seem to have helped any either: since it was announced, one in five O2 customers have gone in search of greener pastures.

Far from fastest overall

The debate on ADSL speeds seems old hat now - this is the fibre age, isn't it?

The same Ofcom report mentioned above noted that Virgin Media's 120Mb service is delivering average speeds of around 112.6Mb over 24 hours and 108.0Mb over peak times.

In fact, even the UK's average home broadband speed, was measured by Ofcom as being 14.7Mb.

Fibre just supplies a service that's miles better - both in terms of real speeds and looking at how far they meet what they advertise.

That was part of O2's problem, they made plans to offer fibre and never managed it.

But, sad to say, most UK households still can't get a fibre connection and for them it does matter which provider is offering the fastest, most reliable connection. It's a pity our broadband advertising still can't tell them.


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