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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 broadband or Sky broadband. They’re two of the UK’s most popular providers, and each offers a wide range of 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 Essential Plus
Download speed (average) 10Mb 11Mb
Upload speed 1Mb 1Mb
Data usage limit Unlimited Unlimited
Traffic Management No No
Contract length 24 months 18 months
Price £30.99 £30

Winner: Tie

There isn’t much which differentiates BT and Sky when it comes to ADSL broadband.

BT is sometimes slightly cheaper, however, both are expensive compared to other providers. ADSL broadband is readily available for less than £20 per month, so we wouldn't rush to recommend either of these providers unless they have an especially tempting offer. If you need to save money on broadband, look elsewhere.

One point to note if you're considering ADSL from BT: it no longer offers this package to new customers unless you cannot get fibre. If fibre is available in your area, you'll be offered BT Fibre Essential instead.

Sky deals

Entry-level Fibre: BT Fibre Essential vs Sky Broadband Superfast

 
BT Fibre Essential

 

Sky Superfast
Download speed (average) 36Mb 59Mb
Upload speed 9Mb 19.5Mb
Data usage limit Unlimited Unlimited
Traffic Management No No
Contract length 24 months 18 months
Price £26.99 £25

Winner: Sky

Sky Superfast offers amazing value, costing about the same as BT's slower 36Mb entry-level service but with a much faster speed. Sky does also have a 36Mb package (Sky Superfast 35) however this is usually priced the same as the 59Mb option, so there's no good reason to go for it over the quicker deal. 

BT deals

Fast Fibre: BT Fibre 2 vs Sky Broadband 

 
BT Fibre 2
Sky Superfast
Download speed (average) 67Mb 59Mb
Upload speed 19.5Mb 19.5Mb
Data usage limit Unlimited Unlimited
Traffic Management No No
Contract length 24 months 18 months
Price £31.99 £25

Winner: Sky

BT Fibre 2 (previously known as BT Infinity 2) offers a slightly quicker average download speed compared to Sky, but it’s a relatively minor improvement. Sky takes the crown in this speed tier thanks to its lower price.

Sky deals

Ultrafast Fibre: BT Full Fibre 900 vs Sky Ultrafast Plus

 
BT Full Fibre 900
Sky Ultrafast Plus
Download speed (average) 910Mb 900Mb
Upload speed 110Mb 90Mb
Data usage limit Unlimited Unlimited
Traffic Management No No
Contract length 24 months 18 months
Price £59.99 £60

Winner: BT

Both BT and Sky have similar full-fibre deals with average download speeds around 900Mb. However, BT does promise a slightly better upload rate. Another point in BT's favour is that you are able to use your own Wi-Fi router if you prefer, something which is not supported by Sky. That's worth keeping in mind if you're an enthusiast looking to get the most out of your broadband and home network.

Price and affordability

Monthly price

Winner: Sky

Sky is generally cheaper for fibre optic. You can expect to pay around £26-£28 for 18 months of Sky Superfast without any special offer discounts, compared to around £30 for BT Fibre 2, or £27 for 36Mb Fibre.

The story is different for ADSL; both providers are far too expensive, and only worth considering if they have a special offer discount.

Setup cost

Winner: Sky

Sky broadband packages (broadband only deals with a phone line, but excluding TV) have a setup cost of around £10, though this is very frequently discounted to £0. And Sky charges just £20 if you need a new phone line.

BT setup starts at around £10 but goes up to around £20-£30 on some packages. BT does also regularly remove the setup fee, but this doesn't apply if you need a new line and that is not cheap. It will cost £60 to activate an existing line, or £140 if you require a new phone line.

Sky deals

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 gives away pre-paid Mastercards loaded with credit. 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. 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 does also use the BT Openreach infrastructure but has its own LLU network. That 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 21 complaints per 100,000 customers, compared to 50 for BT. The industry average is 52.

Sky also had a 62% rating for the handling of complaints, slightly better than BT’s 57%. However, BT did have a faster call waiting time of 00:55, with Sky coming in at 02:28.

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 (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 heaps of premium channels (including Sky channels such as 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 most comprehensive 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 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 a 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).
  • Discounts for BT Sport.

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

These two giants of the broadband world are evenly matched. Both offer good value fibre optic broadband deals with handy extra features and additional TV and mobile services.

BT does have a unique 50Mb fibre package, more freebies and extras, and excellent mobile service, but on balance we have to give this one to Sky because of its stronger customer service record and lower fibre prices.

Matt Powell

Meet the author:

Senior Editor

Matt Powell, Broadband Genie's Editor, has been with us since 2009. A lifelong tech enthusiast, he has 20 years of experience writing about technology for print and online.

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