Life after Sky - new broadband provider sought

Apologies, first, if there’s recent advice herein, but I couldn’t find any.

Sky are about to raise their broadband prices which gives me the opportunity to get out fee-free ahead of contract end.

I need reliability and, particularly, coverage across the house but I don’t have the need for speed. Anything leap out?

Obliged in advance……

Have you been happy with Sky? If so, haggle with them and get it cheaper.


If they use openreach literally any provider will be almost identical, just go with the cheapest after cashback.

I will give the same advice I do every time, whoever you go with step 1 is put the router back in the box once the connection works. Get a new router/mesh system, as “internet not working” is not the same as WiFi slow speeds.


I’m afraid that ship has sailed. I’ve done some deals with them, but choosing to leave Sky TV in the months to come hasn’t strengthened my hand.

Thanks. This is new territory for me but one I’m happy to explore.

For what it’s worth I have plus net ( I used to have BT until their prices went high ) I get 80/20 so the fastest that’s available to me.
Price is under £30 per month and have had no issues since day one.

If you really really want to get ‘into the weeds’ on finding out what you can get, start here

That will show you wish technical options you have in your area - Virgin Cable, Openreach FTTC/FTTP or TalkTalk/Sky LLU (as well as ‘standard’ broadband).

Virgin Cable and Openreach FTTP should be the most reliable (with least amount of drop outs etc) as those services give you a nice fibre optic cable from your house all the way to the telephone exchange. It does also give you the most ‘flexibility’ in terms of once it’s installed (you will need to have an engineer come around and install it if your current Sky package isn’t already FTTP) you can pretty much pick a speed between about 40Mb all the way up to 1Gb that’s right for you. I’d suggest going for around a 100Mb package to start with. If you decide you need more, most providers are happy to upgrade (although that might restart your contract) although not happy to downgrade.

FTTC isn’t quite as good - you’ll have a fibre connection from your street (ish) back to the telephone exchange, but from the box on your street (ish) you’ll still be using the old copper wire from (probably) the 1970s. (btw - I’m saying 'street (ish) because those boxes are not necessarily on your street - especially in rural areas).

I’d ignore LLU - that was going to be the ‘big thing’ to break BT’s dominance in broadband provision in the 2000’s, but hasn’t really made much impact. Technically, it means you still use a BT line from your house to the telephone exchange, but it hits the LLU provider equipment in the telephone exchange itself, rather than then go across Openreach equipment at that point. It means if there’s a fault, Sky or TalkTalk could have their own engineers fix it, but I think both of those just use Openreach for everything now anyway and you wouldn’t see any difference.

Other things to consider though - what other ‘technical’ services do you have from who? Most (all?) Mobile phone companies now offer broadband as well, often discounted for their mobile phone customers so you might want to check out their packages. If you’re cancelling Sky TV, are you getting any other TV package to replace it? Now TV for example (which, ok - also from Sky) but they also do broadband. (Now Broadband, powered by Sky Fibre is £25 a month for a 100mb connection).

Also, as it’s been mentioned, to get good coverage around the home, you probably need to put the router you get with the connection away once you’ve been setup and go and buy a specialist one.

Good question. I’ve already purchased a Freesat box and found it simply uses the Sky cables - and it works ! So that’s in my back pocket come D-Day. I’ve signed up to Now TV too, but hadn’t thought of them as a Broadband provider :relieved:.

(I’ve excluded Virgin as I don’t want the driveway disrupted again.)

Really helpful thanks.

Ultimately I’ll need WiFi access in the two bedrooms and same in the kitchen & lounge. The simpler the better, but I guess the starting point will be seeing what a new provider’s router performs like and take it from there?

Sky have their own LLU in many areas, and their backhaul is generally better than openreach or TalkTalk. So I’d think long and hard before switching.

Resellers of wholesale on OR and TalkTalk aren’t created equal either, and they certainly won’t be identical. If you’re leaving Sky’s backhaul I’d make sure I’m picking a real good ISP on one of the other two backhaul providers.

ISPReview is always a good place to start your research. Your coverage needs are only likely to be guaranteed by the premium packages from the big providers though. When you go with smaller ones, you have the freedom to use your own equipment, and it’s often the expectation that will be the case too.

I actually think Sky are a really good provider for most people in terms of reliability/quality : price, and it might be worth considering staying put. Especially since they’re one of the few who will sell you whole home coverage as an add on.

Your alternative options are likely to be found in the likes of Zen and plus net, but I think Sky’s network and equipment is better.

There are more niche options in ISPs like IDNET and AAISP That will provide you with a better connection to the internet, but in the latter’s case, at a significantly higher premium, and a service more geared towards engineers than consumers. You’d need your own WiFi equipment with these providers too.

One of the good things about the U.K. is you have a lot of options to choose from to find the ISP that just suits you. The bad thing about the U.K. is you have a lot of options to choose from and it’s a minefield to navigate, and most are not very good. Double edged sword.

If I was giving someone like you advice, it would be to take the simplest option and stay put (especially if you’re in an area where they use their own backhaul as opposed to openreach). They’re generally a solid ISP at a fair price who can meet your every other need if the price hike puts them beyond your price range. But that can be haggled.

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That’s why it might also be worth looking at NowTV’s broadband service though - it’s also provided by Sky so, from a performance wise, should be very similar.

However - it’s also cheaper than Sky (just like how NowTV is cheaper than Sky TV).

Looks like NowTV broadband is £24 a month for 100Mb - Sky Fibre is £28 per month for 100mb.

The downside of NowTV - 100Mb is the maximum they offer whereas Sky have much higher speed options as well.


Thank you everyone. Most helpful.

For now, I’m staying put. I may be dumping Sky TV, but I’ll stick with Sky Broadband.

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The one caveat to NOW is none of their plans offer the same coverage guarantee you can get from Sky which sounds like an important feature for Graham.


Yep. Now TV is a definite. I no longer fear leaving Sky TV (after 23 years).


Whilst this is true reading the OPs post it doesn’t sound like this even comes into it. If all you want to do is watch iPlayer, browse the web and load YouTube the above will make no difference in real world use but the price of sky compared to another provider will matter more.

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I’ve found you can haggle and get good results with Sky near to the end of your contract. However, I’ve found they won’t move on the annual inflation increases. Personally, I’ve found Sky to be good and they’ve got an accessibility department which I find useful due to deafness issues.

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I tend to always assume the ‘coverage guarantees’ offered by Sky and BT are not really worth the paper they’re written on but I’ve never even bothered to try and get them to support it.

If you do have dead spots at home with the standard router they provide, it’s probably worth investing in a separate off the shelf home router instead like the eero from Amazon, or the orbi from Netgear.

Has anyone here actually tried to get Sky/BT to honour their coverage guarantee? What do they do?

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Yes. I’ve just spoken with CS and hit a 20% reduction on my Broadband bill, even though I’m terminating Sky TV in October.

(My ship hadn’t sailed quite as far as I’d thought, @Revels :relieved:).

Good conversation everybody. Thankyou.


Every single ISP deploy their own various different management and shaping policies (Sky have one of the best policies in the industry in this regard) that you have to navigate and contend with. And whilst they all use open reach or TalkTalk, their agreements with those providers can vary wildly, and the last mile where your connection terminates out to the wider internet is through the ISP’s own infrastructure. Most ISPs oversubscribe their service which can cause problems. Sky are the only big player who generally doesn’t (remember when their service was sold out a few years back?).

So there’s a lot of variables to contend with and the result is a wide variance in reliability, quality and speed, despite the very simplistic dumbing down in that they’re all essentially the same which just isn’t true in reality.

They’re worth something. These are essentially the big providers take on mesh networking, and they work as well as mesh networking does without having to shell out on your own hardware system to set up and manage yourself.

The guarantee part, is the part I’m not sure of, but I think they’ll do the best they can to achieve the best WiFi coverage they can in your home. Just as I would if you were to hire me to design and implement a home network for you. Being at a commercial scale, the approach is going to be more a one size fits most though, as opposed to a truly bwsespoke installation you’d get from me in exchange for a lot more money.

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Sky do oversubscribe their service. All large ISPs do.

In fact I think AAISP is the only one which doesn’t but that comes at a price.

One weakness with Sky is their lack of resilience in their backbone where a fibre cable going out of service can affect services on multiple exchanges

Not to the extent the others do, which was my point. It’s how they maintain their policies and promises.

Any congestion in Sky’s network is often at the local exchange end, and usually when they’re reselling openreach, which is up to BT wholesale to fix, not Sky.

Sky have removed the broadband products from sale on multiple occasions whilst they increase capacity, sometimes local to specific areas, citing it as out of stock due to insufficient capacity to support more customers. Not something I’ve ever seen another big ISP do. Heck, even AAISP will add customers first, increase capacity later. It’s caught them out on the odd occasion over the years. They try to stay ahead of the curve and not be the bottleneck but they haven’t always managed it.