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BT vs Sky Broadband: which is best?

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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, 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.

Sky vs BT broadband packages

Sky and BT are two of the most popular internet service providers in the UK. 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 BT Fibre Essential
Download speed (average) 61Mb 36Mb
Upload speed 16Mb 9.5Mb
Data usage limit Unlimited Unlimited
Traffic management No No
Contract length 18 months 24 months
Set-up cost £0 £0 - £29.99
Monthly price (initial contract term) £27 £26.99

Winner: Sky

Sky's entry-level Superfast broadband package is considerably faster than BT's. Currently, Sky Broadband’s superfast fibre package also 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. BT products can sometimes be snapped up with no upfront cost, but this isn't standard. Meanwhile, Sky doesn't usually ask for any money up-front.

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Fastest fibre packages

  Sky Broadband Gigafast BT Full Fibre 900
Download speed (average) 900Mb 900Mb
Upload speed 90Mb 110Mb
Data usage limit Unlimited Unlimited
Traffic Management No No
Contract length 18 months 24 months
Monthly price (initial contract term) £42 £52.99

Winner: Sky

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.

However, Sky Gigafast offers better value for money, and you only have to commit to 18-months, rather than a full two years.

See also: ‘How to buy your own Wi-Fi broadband router’.

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  • 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

Monthly price

Winner: Sky

Sky is generally cheaper for fibre. You can expect to pay around £27 on an 18 month contract for ‘Sky Superfast Broadband’ without any special offer discounts. For around the same price, you'll be able to sign up to BT Fibre Essential, although this is a slower package at 36Mb. You'll also have to commit to a full two years with BT.

Setup cost

Winner: Sky

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’.

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Broadband rewards and new customer deals

Winner: Sky

New customers signing up to both Sky and BT Broadband can often snap up a gift voucher  when they sign up for a new broadband service. Once activated, you can normally spend these cards in anywhere that accepts Mastercard.

Sky is currently offering higher value gift cards than BT. Higher value rewards are given for faster broadband packages.

Here are the current top BT or Sky deals with free gifts:

Dynamic deal panel

Availability and coverage

Winner: BT

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.

Check to see what’s on offer in your location now by entering your address:

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Customer service

Winner: Sky

In October 2023, Ofcom reported that in the quarter from April to June 2023, Sky Broadband generated the fewest complaints at 5 per 100,000 subscribers. BT was middling in the list, with a total of 13 complaints per 100,000.

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.

Additional services

Winner: Sky

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.

TV Deals

If you’re interested in adding a TV package, only Virgin Media can really match up to Sky TV. But EE TV (the new name for 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 EE, it’s just a shame its TV deals aren’t a little cheaper.

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Mobile bundles

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 £8, 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

Winner: BT

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).

Sky or BT Broadband? The results

Category Winner
Broadband package choice Sky
Fastest broadband package Sky
Price and affordability Sky
Set-up costs and routers Sky
Broadband rewards and new customer deals Sky
Availability and coverage BT
Customer service Sky
Additional services Sky
Extras and freebies BT

Winner: Sky

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:

Meet the author:

Online Editor

Broadband Genie's Editor, Emma Davenport, has been contributing to the site since 2007. She has 20 years of experience writing articles, guides and tutorials on consumer technology for magazines and online.

Specialist subject: Broadband advice for vulnerable people

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