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Sky UK Launches Broadband ISP Sky Connect for Businesses

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021 (12:01 am) - Score 4,392
‘Sky Connect’– a new B2B Broadband Business.
Engineers Mo Bhatti, Siobhan Sextone and Mo Omar.

Sky (Sky Broadband) has today launched a new UK ISP sibling that is being aimed specifically at small businesses – called ‘Sky Connect‘, although at launch they’ll only be offering packages based off “superfast broadband” Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology from Openreach. But FTTP will follow “later this year“.

Until now the company has largely tended to focus on the residential side of the market via Sky Broadband, which is the United Kingdom’s second largest consumer broadband provider with a total base of over 6 million customers. But for whatever reason Sky has tended to stay out of the SME market, until now (they do offer Ethernet though, albeit only on a wholesale basis).

The announcement makes it clear that Sky has seen an opportunity in the COVID-19 crisis, which has forced many people to work from home and thus fostered a rise in broadband upgrades and ISP switching in order to better accommodate that. The operator also expects that Sky Connect will “lead to the creation of around 1,000 jobs across the UK” (including 750 B2B specialist roles).

So what do you actually get? Sky Connect will provide businesses with a choice of three “Business Advantage” packages that feature combinations of the following products and services. This includes a “professional installation” by Sky’s own engineers (c.200 of them), a 30-day money-back guarantee, simplified billing, no in-contract price rises, no hassle cancellation fees and a dedicated business call centre (located in Leeds).

Sky Connect – Business Advantage Products and Features
➤ Superfast broadband (FTTC) with speeds up to 76Mbps (starting from £39 +vat per month)
➤ Secure 4G backup (‘Connection Pro‘) enabling business continuity in case of a broadband outage
➤ Business grade phone solution (‘VoiceEdge‘) with 24 call management features* & unlimited UK calling included as standard in all packages (this is a VoIP style solution)
➤ Private WiFi providing secure internet access
➤ Public WiFi available as an add-on service
Phishing and malware protection to protect against malicious websites
➤ International call packs enabling calls to 48 countries, fixed & mobile
➤ Static IP available for businesses that prefer to host their own servers (extra cost of £3 per month)

On top of that customers will be able to pick from “flexible” 12, 24 and 36-month contracts with “no impact to package rate.” We’re also told that the launch of Sky Connect has already led to the creation of 200 new jobs, including over 100 in its Leeds contact & operations centre, and will lead to the creation of up to 1,000 more in sales, service and in head-office over the next few years.

Stephen van Rooyen, Sky’s EVP & CEO for UK & Europe, said:

“Covid-19 has had a huge impact on small British businesses, with many moving online to survive. We’re launching Sky Connect now, and plan to create up to a thousand new jobs across the UK, because we know British businesses will come out fighting and we want to be there to help.

Small businesses are the growth engine of our economy and we believe they deserve better – better products and technology; clearer contracts, and exceptional customer service.”

One potential problem with all this is that many people will have already taken the opportunity to upgrade their broadband service over the past 12-months to cope with COVID-19, and we’re now in the long process of coming out of lockdown which, when combined with a strong vaccination programme, could see more people returning to the office (i.e. less of a need to adopt a business package at home). But there’s still room to grow.

The other issue is that Sky only mentions “superfast” (FTTC / VDSL2) speeds in their announcement, which is somewhat of an outdated approach and that’s particularly true given how Sky Broadband customers can already access an “ultrafast” 145Mbps tier via G.fast and FTTP. The fact you can’t take this at launch seems odd, but we’re told FTTP will follow later this year (note: G.fast is not planned).

The announcement also makes no mention of a bundled router, but we’ve separately been told that customers will receive their “Broadband Business Hub” (BR203), a Voice Hub and a business grade 4G back-up router. The BR203 model code sounds very similar to their consumer facing SR203 router and indeed it looks similar too, so it’s probably a re-branded version of that kit.

sky_connect_BR203_router_and_4g_hub

Finally, Sky clarified to us what customers get with their professional installation. Kevin O’Toole, MD of Sky, told ISPreview.co.uk: “In addition to installing our products, our tech experts will conduct a health check that includes positioning equipment to optimize performance and partnering with the customer to prioritise the critical devices they want connected to the 4G internet back-up service. The engineers will also answer any questions the customer may have regarding their voice features and confirm all services are working as expected before they leave the premises. During our pilot, we had great feedback from our customers who found the professional install aspect of our service super helpful.”

Sky has provided a summary of the new packages, which we’ve pasted below.

Sky Connect Packages

  Advantage Advantage Pro Advantage Max
Package Price £39 £55 £95
Speeds up to

76/19 Mbps

  •  
  •  
  •  
Fully Featured Voice Lines   1   1   4
Unlimited calls to landline and mobile (01,02,03,07)
  •  
  •  
  •  
Phishing & Malware protection
  •  
  •  
  •  
Automatic 4G backup x    
Voice Activation Fee   £0   £0 First line: £0

Additional lines: £10

1/ 2/ 3 year contracts available
  •  
  •  
  •  
Pro-install available
  •  
  •  
  •  
30-day money back guarantee
  •  
  •  
  •  
Add-ons
International Pack – 48 countries fixed & mobile all countries   £12   £12   £16
500 minutes 750 minutes
Static IP (Single)   £3   £3   £3

* The 24 call management features include:

1. Simultaneous ring

2. Sequential ring

3. Call Forward

4. Call Forward when busy

5. Call Forward no answer

6. Call Forward not reachable

7. Voicemail

8. Voicemail message waiting alert

9. Anon Reject

10. Call Barring

11. Call Waiting

12. Do not Disturb

13. Hunt Group Sequential

14. Hunt Group Simultaneous

15. 3WC

16. Call return

17. Call Transfer

18. Last number redial

19. Caller Line ID Blocking

20. Caller ID delivery inbound

21. Caller ID delivery outbound

22. Inbound outbound dialling

23. Extension dialling

24. Regulatory Compliance

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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.
Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. A says:

    So they buy Easynet and UKOnline, scrap UKOnline, then ditch Easynet, only to now do the exact same thing UKOnline did?

    1. Anna says:

      Yes whilst putting prices up and using O2 for their 4G – all in all no thanks.

  2. Jono says:

    Sounds similar to there excellent pro accounts. Support was brilliant and came with a fixed ip.

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