If you’re in the market for a new broadband deal, there’s a good chance you’ve considered packages from BT or Sky broadband. They’re two of the UK’s most popular internet service providers (ISPs), with each offering a wide range of deals with frequent special offers.
But which is best? On this page, we’re going to examine both providers in a head-to-head competition.
BT vs Sky broadband packages
Both BT and Sky are big names in both the broadband world, and other areas of tech. But how do they compare on key features such as speed, usage limits and contract length? Let’s find out.
Cheapest broadband packages
|Sky Superfast 35||BT Fibre Essential|
|Download speed (average)||36Mb||36Mb|
|Data usage limit||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Contract length||18 months||24 months|
|Monthly price (initial contract term)||£25||£31.99|
Both BT and Sky have similar full fibre ultrafast broadband deals with almost identical average download and upload speeds. Currently, Sky Broadband’s superfast fibre package has a shorter contract length, which won’t tie you into a deal for as long and allows you to switch earlier. Switching helps you save money, so this can only be a good thing!
Although it’s worth keeping an eye out for no set-up fee deals from either supplier, at the time of writing, BT’s set-up was averaging around £30. Meanwhile, Sky wasn’t asking for any money up-front.
Fastest fibre packages
|Sky Broadband Gigafast||BT Full Fibre 900|
|Download speed (average)||900Mb||900Mb|
|Data usage limit||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Contract length||18 months||24 months|
|Monthly price (initial contract term)||£53||£57.99|
As both providers operate on the Openreach network, BT and Sky have similar full fibre, ultrafast packages, with average download speeds of around 900Mb. However, BT does promise a slightly better upload rate with its Full Fibre 900 option.
Another point in BT's favour is that you’re able to use your own Wi-Fi router if you prefer, something that isn’t supported by Sky. That's worth keeping in mind if you're planning on upgrading your router.
You will have to commit to a longer 24-month contract, mind you.
What is Openreach?
Openreach is the company that maintains the former British Telecom Network used for the majority of broadband and phone services. If a repair or installation is required, it’s Openreach who will send an engineer, not your provider.
More than 650 service providers using the Openreach network. That’s the majority of the UK’s broadband providers. This includes Sky, TalkTalk and BT. The exception to this is Virgin Media - it uses its own, separate cable network.
Price and affordability
Sky is generally cheaper for fibre. You can expect to pay around £26-£28 on an 18 month contract for ‘Sky Superfast Broadband’ without any special offer discounts. That’s compared to around £36 for BT Fibre 2, or £32 for 36Mb Fibre.
Sky’s broadband-only deals tend to have a set-up cost of around £10 upfront. But, very frequently, this is discounted to £0. New customers can expect to receive a free Sky Broadband Hub as part of their deal.
BT set-up starts at around £10 but goes up to around £20-£30 on some packages. BT does also regularly remove this set-up fee, but this doesn't apply if you need a new landline. It’s not cheap. It’ll cost £70 for them to activate an existing line, or £140 if you require a new phone line.
New customers will either receive a Smart Hub, Smart Hub 2 or Home Hub 4, depending on the package chosen.
See also: ‘BT Broadband router round-up’.
Broadband rewards and new customer deals
Although on the face of it, Sky is generally cheaper than BT, if you take special offers into account, BT can end up better value for money.
New customers signing up to BT Broadband can often snap up a Rewards Card when they sign up for a new broadband service. Once activated, you can normally spend these cards in anywhere that accepts Mastercard. Sometimes, you can even snap up multiple free gifts. In the past, we’ve seen deals with more than £200 worth of freebies.
Sky offers promotions with rewards, but less often BT.
Here are the current top BT or Sky deals with free gifts:
Availability and coverage
BT has the edge here, with availability across most of the country. If you can get broadband using a telephone line, then you can get BT Broadband.
Sky does also use the Openreach infrastructure, but has its own LLU network. That covers more than 24 million premises, so there’s a good chance you can get Sky. But if you’re outside their network area, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
When it comes to full fibre broadband, you’ll find that both providers have the same availability as they share the Openreach full fibre network.
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In the latest Ofcom customer service report, there were just 16 complaints per 100,000 Sky customers, compared to 35 for BT customers.
Both BT and Sky had a 55% satisfaction rating for customer complaint handling.
Since the last report, Sky’s average call waiting time for customer support has sped up, with callers having to hold for 2 minutes 14 seconds. BT customers wait an average of 2 minutes 45 seconds. The average waiting time for all UK provider’s customer service lines in this report was 2 minutes 37 seconds.
Both providers offer other services which you can take alongside home broadband. Sky wins this category for us thanks to its excellent TV service, which can include the brilliant Sky Q box and flexible mobile phone deals. But it’s a very close match, and BT has a lot to offer too.
If you’re interested in adding a TV package, only Virgin Media can really match up to Sky TV. But BT TV is a compelling alternative. You can still get heaps of premium channels, including Sky Atlantic, Sky Sports and TNT Sports.
Unless you sign up for Sky Glass or Sky Stream, you’ll have to get a satellite dish installed. There’s no need for this with BT, it’s just a shame its TV deals aren’t a little cheaper.
Both providers have mobile phone deals. Sky uses the O2 network, while BT uses EE’s. This gives BT an edge in coverage and speed, as EE has the most comprehensive 4G and 5G coverage across the UK. BT broadband customers can get 10% off an EE handset and 30% off ‘sim-only’ plans.
But Sky Mobile is flexible and cheap. Deals start from under £7, you can roll over unused data for up to three years, and you’re able to mix up the phone plans by customising allowances to suit your needs.
Extras and freebies
Both Sky and BT offer some useful extras, though BT has a more generous package.
BT broadband deals include:
- BT Wi-Fi (a public hotspot network with thousands of free access points).
- BT Virus Protect (antivirus for desktop and mobile powered by Norton).
- BT Parental Controls (also works on BT Wi-Fi).
Sky broadband deals include:
- The Cloud Wi-Fi (a public hotspot network with thousands of free access points).
- Sky Broadband Shield (parental controls and online security).
BT vs Sky broadband: which is best? The conclusion
|Broadband package choice||Sky|
|Fastest broadband package||BT|
|Price and affordability||Sky|
|Set-up costs and routers||Sky|
|Broadband rewards and new customer deals||BT|
|Availability and coverage||BT|
|Extras and freebies||BT|
These two giants of the broadband world are evenly matched. Both offer good value fibre optic packages with very similar broadband speeds, and handy extra features with additional TV and mobile services.
BT offers customers more freebies and extras, and an excellent mobile service. Despite that, we have to give this one to Sky because of its stronger customer service record, lower fibre prices, and unbeatable TV service.
For a deeper look at what both these providers offer, you can find full reviews available on Broadband Genie at:
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