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BT vs Sky Broadband: Who's best?

If you’re in the market for a new broadband deal there’s a good chance you’ve considered packages from BT broadband or Sky broadband. They’re two of the UK’s most popular providers, and offer a wide range of good value deals with frequent special offers that include tempting rewards.

But which is best? In this article we’re going to examine both providers in a head to head competition to help you make a decision when comparing BT and Sky broadband.

BT vs Sky: broadband packages

How do BT and Sky broadband packages compare on key features such as speed, usage limits and contract length?

ADSL: BT Broadband vs Sky Broadband Unlimited

BT Broadband
Sky Broadband Essential
Download speed (average) 10Mb 11Mb
Upload speed 1Mb 1Mb
Data usage limit Unlimited Unlimited
Traffic Management No No
Contract length 18 months 18 months

Winner: Tie

There isn’t much which differentiates BT and Sky when it comes to ADSL broadband. Sky does advertise a slightly faster download speed, but the difference is very small.

Fibre: BT Superfast Fibre 1 vs Sky Fibre Broadband

BT Superfast Fibre 1
Sky Fibre Broadband
Download speed (average) 50Mb 36Mb
Upload speed 9.5Mb 9.5Mb
Data usage limit Unlimited Unlimited
Traffic Management No No
Contract length 18 months 18 months

Winner: BT

BT is able to offer an entry level download speed of 50Mb for its cheapest Superfast Fibre 1 (aka Infinity 1) package, faster than any other provider except Virgin Media.

Fast Fibre: BT Superfast Fibre 2 vs Sky Broadband Superfast

BT Superfast Fibre 2
Sky Broadband Superfast
Download speed (average) 67Mb 63Mb
Upload speed 19.5Mb 19.5Mb
Data usage limit Unlimited Unlimited
Traffic Management No No
Contract length 18 months 18 months

Winner: BT

BT Superfast Fibre 2 (previously known as BT Infinity 2) offers a slightly quicker average download speed compared to Sky, but it’s a fairly minor improvement. BT nudges ahead of Sky because of that, but otherwise the two are well matched in this speed tier.

Price and affordability

Monthly price

Winner: Sky

BT ADSL broadband packages start from around £25, rising to a hefty £45 after 18 months. Sky offers ADSL from under £20, increasing to around £30 after 18 months.

Sky is also cheaper for fibre optic. You can expect to pay around £27 for 18 months of Sky Broadband Superfast, compared to around £40 for BT Superfast Fibre 2.

Setup cost

Winner: Sky

Sky broadband packages (broadband only deals, excluding a TV bundle) have a setup cost of around £10. And Sky charges just £20 if you need a new phone line.

BT setup starts at around £10 but goes up to £30 on some packages. And it will cost £60 to activate an existing line, or £140 if you require a new phone line.

Broadband rewards

Winner: BT

While Sky is generally cheaper than BT, that’s not the whole story because BT is often available with special offers. BT frequently offers pre-paid Mastercards loaded with credit (sometimes in excess of £100) and also free gadgets. Sometimes it will provide multiple free gifts. In the past we’ve seen deals with more than £200 worth of freebies.

Sky also runs promotions with rewards, but with less frequency than BT. This means that if a free gift is important and you want Sky you may have to wait a little while before a deal comes up, whereas BT is rarely available without a bonus.

Availability and coverage

Winner: BT

BT is the clear winner here, with availability across most of the country. If you can get broadband using a telephone line, you can get BT broadband.

Sky has its own LLU network which covers more than 24m 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.

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Customer service: BT and Sky compared

Winner: Sky

In the latest Ofcom customer service report Sky had just 29 complaints per 100,000 customers, compared to 115 for BT. The industry average is 75. Sky also had a 57% rating for the handling of complaints, slightly better than BT’s 50%. However, BT did have a faster call waiting time of 01:40, with Sky coming in at 02:03.

Additional services

Winner: Sky

Both providers offer additional services which you can take alongside the home broadband. Sky wins this category for us thanks to its excellent TV service (including the brilliant Sky Q box) and flexible mobile phone deals, but it is a very close match and BT has a lot to recommend it.

TV: Sky is best known for its satellite TV offering, and if you’re interested in a vast choice of channels, with popular shows like Games of Thrones alongside more niche content, then only Virgin Media can match Sky’s selection. But BT TV is a compelling alternative. You can still get oodles of premium channels (including Sky channels like Sky Atlantic and Sky Sports), and there’s no need for a satellite dish. It’s just a shame BT TV isn’t a little cheaper.

Mobile: Both providers have mobile phone deals. Sky uses the O2 network, while BT is using EE. This gives BT an edge in coverage and speed as EE has the widest 4G coverage and consistently wins speed tests. BT broadband customers can also get £5 off BT Mobile packages, and you can sign up for a Plus deal which provides free double data and a backup 4G connection if your home broadband is out of action. But Sky Mobile is extremely flexible and cheap. Deals start from under £10, you can roll over unused data, and you’re able to mix up the phone plans by customising allowances to suit your needs.

Extras and freebies

Winner: BT

Both Sky and BT offer some useful extras, though BT has the more generous package.

BT broadband deals include:

  • BT Wi-Fi (public hotspot network with more than 5m access points)
  • Free online storage with BT Cloud
  • BT Virus Protect (anti-virus for desktop and mobile powered by McAfee)
  • BT Parental Controls (also works on BT Wi-Fi)
  • Free BT Sport 1 (web access only)

Sky broadband deals include:

  • The Cloud Wi-Fi (more than 20,000 access points)
  • Sky Broadband Shield (parental controls and online security)

BT vs Sky broadband: which is best?

Winner: Sky

This could go either way, these two giants of the broadband world are evenly matched. Both offer good value deals with handy extra features and additional TV and mobile services.

BT does have faster entry-level fibre speeds, more freebies and extras, and an excellent mobile service, but on balance we have to give this one to Sky because of its stronger customer service record and lower prices.

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