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UPDATE Price Details for Sky Broadband’s 940Mbps FTTH Service in York

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015 (4:51 am) - Score 5,223

Sky Broadband appears to have quietly unveiled the pricing for their forthcoming “Sky Ultra Fibre Optic” service in the city of York (England), where they’re working alongside Cityfibre and TalkTalk to roll-out a new 940Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH/P) network. Oddly, line rental still exists.

The most recent coverage update suggested that around 5,000 of the planned 20,000 premises for Phase One of the deployment (note: this will still leave around 60,000 to be done), which is supported by an investment of £5m from each ISP, have already been completed (here); mostly in the Huntington, Groves, Clifton and Rawcliffe areas.

The first customers are due to go live this Autumn 2015 and we already know that TalkTalk will charge customers a single price of just £21.70 per month to receive this service on an 18 month contract, which is incredibly cheap and includes both a free “Super Router” and installation. But until now Sky’s pricing has been unknown.

Interestingly Sky have kept surprisingly quiet about the new service, perhaps not wishing to boast before it has some serious coverage, and pushed out very little PR concerning their own specific plans. This is in stark contrast to TalkTalk where everybody from the CEO down seems happy to talk about their grand aspirations to reach 10 million UK premises.

In keeping with this theme it’s perhaps no surprise that ISPreview.co.uk first learn of Sky’s UFO pricing through whispers that pointed us towards a quiet update on the operator’s official website. So what are customers going to be offered? Apparently three “ultrafast, ultra-reliable and totally unlimited” packages (contract length unknown), although the 50Mbps service shouldn’t really qualify as “ultrafast” at all (most consider this as a definition that starts at 100Mbps+)

Sky Ultra Fibre Optic
* 50Mbps “Guaranteed Speeds”
* Totally unlimited usage
* Included router (£6.95 delivery charge)

PRICE: £10 per month + £16.40 per month line rental

Sky Ultra Fibre Optic Plus
* As above, but with..
* 100Mbps

PRICE: £20 per month + £16.40 per month line rental

Sky Ultra Fibre Optic Pro
* As above, but with..
* ‘up to’ 940Mbps

PRICE: £30 per month + £16.40 per month line rental

Broadly speaking the prices are comparable to Sky’s existing package line-up via standard ADSL2+ and FTTC broadband technologies, but other than a difference with the promoted speeds there are a few other things that stand out with these options.

Firstly, the two initial packages are both promoted as simply 50Mbps or 100Mbps (suggesting symmetric performance), but the Pro option takes a different approach by promoting “download speeds of up to 940Mb” (are uploads going to be lower? Sky may have concerns about their capacity supply and costs).

Secondly, the use of “Guaranteed Speeds” only appears on the first two packages. Sky thus appear to be taking a more cautious approach to the headline grabbing 940Mbps package, which is probably wise.

Speaking of which that “Guaranteed speed is to the router“, which is Sky’s way of saying that you’re unlikely to get the full speed if the router’s WiFi or LAN ports can’t keep pace. We hope Sky plan to ship UFO with something better than the SkyHub SR102 as that router is clearly not up to the job of tackling 940Mbps and doesn’t even have 5GHz WiFi.

Another unusual move is Sky’s decision to continue charging a mandatory fee of £16.40 per month for Sky Line Rental, with no mention of whether this includes a phone (voice) service like the vanilla copper line product. FTTH connections have no need for a separate line rental charge (similar ISPs usually charge a single rental), unless Sky are trying to maintain a common package structure or selling the service as a separate copper line alongside the fibre.

We are querying with Sky and will update later.

UPDATE 1:08pm

Sky has kindly helped to clarify some of our earlier points. Firstly, customers will be provided with a completely new model of router that supports both Gigabit LAN ports and dual frequency WiFi (2.4GHz and 5GHz).

Secondly, the 940Mbps package uses an “up to” speed because Sky correctly suggests that at 940Mbps it would be difficult to “guarantee” such performance, although the package itself will still be unconstrained (i.e. no Traffic Management). In addition, upload speeds for their services will be announced when the packages go on sale later this year.

Finally, on the subject of line rental, Sky confirms that the packages will be accompanied by a “great telephony service on our all fibre network with our broadband service“. Sky added that their line rental charge does not relate to the technology, but rather the service offered. In our interpretation this probably reflects a phone service being delivered over the top (VoIP) of their fibre optic cable. But we should get more detail in the coming weeks or months.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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19 Responses
  1. Avatar Dave says:

    I left York to move to Sydney, Australia and now I’m stuck with 1.6mbps download. I’m 200m from my nearest exchange and there are no plans to put fibre in my area. I am less than 2KM from the CBD.

    This country needs to get into the 21st century!

    1. Avatar Hellster says:

      I feel your pain man, i live in AU as well and internet has been behind the times for many many years, and don’t hold your breathe on things changing any time soon

  2. Avatar FibreFred says:

    ? There’s a line to use that isn’t your own so you rent it. I see no reason for dropping line rental

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      The point is, why not merge the cost into a single charge like TalkTalk and other FTTH/P providers have done as there is no mandatory need to have a second fee if you’re just providing standalone broadband on a fibre optic line. We’ve already asked Sky to clarify the product.

    2. Avatar TheFacts says:

      It’s a fixed charge, but better included in the total.

    3. Avatar nknklnkl says:

      The thinking behind it is probably that many people pay attention only to headlines so if they see the price combined as one they will think it’s expensive compared to their free* or £2.99* service.

      It would be better and make more sense to have just a single price though.

      *plus line rental

    4. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Got ya now mark, as nkn says it’s probably just marketing “look how cheap it is” and in small print “don’t forget about the line rental but don’t worry we’ve always charged that”

      But yeah agreed you can’t have the broadband without the line so one price makes sense, saying that it’s all down to perception one price could mean a price increase each year, but if you only increase the separate line rental charge each year people might view it differently as people expect this to go up anyway

      No increase in broadband price but a small increase in line rental each year probably looks better than a broadband price increase each year

    5. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      I suspect it’s something like that too. Mind you this also opens scope for other confusion, since line rental is similarly connected with a phone / voice service in the consumer consciousness.

      Sky need to be clear about what customers can expect. You can’t charge £16.40 Sky Line Rental on one product and get a voice line service, then pay the same Sky Line Rental charge on another and get no voice product.

      I also take your point about this: “No increase in broadband price but a small increase in line rental each year probably looks better than a broadband price increase each year.” Mind you over the past year almost all of the big ISPs have put both broadband and line rental prices up, so that connection may be eroding.

    6. Avatar MikeW says:

      I agree with the consensus here – the reason a “line rental” element is split out is all to do with marketing. In reality, the same amount of money would be sucked out of your bank account into an ISP’s account. It doesn’t matter how it has been itemised.

      However, people’s minds don’t see that. And people don’t all see things differently, either.

      TalkTalk seem to be aiming for people who think “Line Rental” is a cost that can be discarded. TT have discarded the name (though not the cost), and market that as an advantage.

      Sky have gone the other direction, which lets them capture people with low-price initial offers, with the (*) small print. Such offers appeal to a slightly different segment – those who want to change ISP every year, or to threaten it, to keep offers coming.

      In this specific case – the Sky/TT/CityFibre partnership in York – there is a slightly different corporate dynamic compared to other places with Openreach infrastructure: the only competition on the fibre is actually Sky and TT. That makes it a one-on-one marketing game to a) get initial sign-ups, and b) to prevent churn.

      The message here is that Sky and TT are approaching (a) slightly differently. It’ll be interesting to see how they end up approaching (b) in a year or two. I wonder if, with only one competing company, you’ll even get any decent retention offers.

  3. Avatar Ignition says:

    As someone whose only option other than standard broadband, which is to be honest the new dialup, is FTTC at an ‘average’ distance from the exchange the amount of people who by the end of the year will be able to buy services between 5 and 15 times faster than anything I can have short of having a leased line installed is getting depressing.

    1. Avatar Craski says:

      Agree with that. At the moment Googles Project Loon or one of the LEO Satellite projects is looking more likely to deliver superfast broadband to the whole world quicker than BDUK will to Scotland!

    2. Avatar MikeW says:

      I think @Ignition is talking about a very different “average” world to yours @Craski – IIRC, he had two FTTC connections bonded, running at over 120Mbps.

      I might be a tad envious of those who can buy this stuff in York, but I don’t think I’d personally describe it as depressing. Yet.

    3. Avatar Craski says:

      Yes just a little bit different!
      Here’s me thinking about bonding two ADSL lines to break 4Mbps down and 0.8 Mbps up 🙂

  4. Avatar Jonny says:

    The pricing looks impressive, I just hope that it’s not a compromised service or that there are business packages on offer to buy your way out of any consumer limitations. I’m worried that 50Mbps symmetrical, guaranteed, for sub-£30 a month is not sustainable but I’m happy to admit that Sky no doubt have a better idea than I do about the commercial side of this business.

    Even if the standard offering is a single dynamic IPv4 but Sky embrace IPv6 on their new network, with a CPE to make full use of it, that would be a great step forward and hopefully nudge other large players into a bit of action.

    1. Avatar Craski says:

      It does seem amazing that they can offer full on proper fibre connections for such competitive prices, I too wonder if it is sustainable but having had my Sky TV subs increase regularly over past ten years, I suspect the TV subs are subsidising this too.

  5. Avatar adslmax Real says:

    Oh for god’s sake! What the point of line rental if it was Fibre Optic to the home up to 940Mbps. Why need line rental for? Wake up it 21st century!

    1. Avatar DTMark says:

      It’s just the way in which they’re forced to advertise the pricing because everyone else splits it out too.

      You do realise that if there were no line rental component, it would still cost the same overall?

  6. Avatar jeep says:

    Good on Sky, looks decent enough packaging, if you are already a Sky customer they always seem willing to offer a good deal if you haggle, just wish they could enable this to the rest of the country 🙂

  7. Avatar TheManStan says:

    I guess people forget that Cityfibre, is very much like VM… they’ve been able to buy up a a functional company and left a shell laden with debt (H2O networks/i3 group stuff)

    Without the debt burden from earlier capital outlays, subsequent work and network are easier to return on investment.

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