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ISP Sky Broadband UK Preparing 500Mbps Broadband Package

Saturday, June 12th, 2021 (12:01 am) - Score 12,096
sky broadband router SR203

Credible sources have indicated to ISPreview.co.uk that Sky Broadband (Comcast) may be close to finally launching a 500Mbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) package via Openreach’s (BT) network, which looks likely to be called “Ultrafast Plus” – complementing the “Ultrafast” (145Mbps) plan that launched last autumn.

At present, the existing Sky Ultrafast (FTTP) package costs £35 per month for the first 18 months of service (£40 thereafter) and comes attached to a £9.95 setup fee. You can expect to receive their latest Sky Broadband Hub (SR203) router, unlimited usage, a 100Mbps minimum guaranteed download and various other things. The average upload rate on this package is 22-25Mbps.

NOTE: The original ‘Sky Ultrafast‘ plan is also available to those in G.fast areas.

Sky has previously indicated that they planned to introduce faster FTTP tiers (at one point there was talk of a 300Mbps Ultrafast 2 package), although since last year there’s been nothing but silence. Meanwhile, many of their closest rivals have gone on to introduce 500Mbps and even 1Gbps packages. It’s unclear whether this stems from an inability to support such speeds, until now, or reflects negotiations with Openreach for a better discount (here).

However, in recent month’s a number of credible sources have helped us to uncover the existence of a new Sky Ultrafast Plus package, which will finally make download speeds of 500Mbps available to their customers. Final details have not been set, but it seems reasonable to expect this to be around £5 to £10 more expensive than their 145Mbps tier. A solid launch date is unknown, but H2 2021 seems likely.

We did ask Sky directly about the new package, but they declined to comment. We should point out that Sky Broadband has previously also been linked to exploratory talks with CityFibre and Virgin Media (VMO2) over gaining wider wholesale access to those networks, but it remains to be seen what – if anything – will actually come of that.

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61 Responses
  1. CarlT says:

    Hmm. 22-25 Mbps average upload on a package capped by Openreach at 75?

    Should that be 72-75?

    1. JP says:

      The quoted speeds are for the current 145 service which I beleive is capped at the 160/30 profile.

    2. CarlT says:

      Yep, misread. Thank you.

  2. rrorororororororo says:

    when is 900 mbps coming

    1. Icaras says:

      Sky’s backhaul is rubbish. Always has been. They always do staggered launches and are behind on speed. They did the same when FTTC launched.

    2. dee.jay says:

      I’ve been on Sky FTTC since April 2012, and I’ve never seen any issues with their backhaul. in fact, my Sky FTTC connection does better than my AAISP one, I’ve spotted some congestion on AAISP of late, but Sky has always given me 100% throughput based on my sync rate since day 1

  3. Neil Jamieson says:

    Most people going on Full fibre are upgrading to a 160/30 meg package anyway . Sky understand that there simply isnt much demand for 1gb fibre unless your a total geek who loves doing speed tests every 5 minutes

    1. Sam says:

      Yes sir – Thats me…
      ¬_¬

    2. Matt says:

      Not true there’s lots of resons to have 1gbps and the fact you can save time from downloads

    3. Marek says:

      @matt
      What? Is there a difference you will download VERY big file in 1 minutes instead of 5 or 15? Are you constantly downloading 50 and 100gbs files all day long?

      Stable 50-100mbs is plenty for daily usage, maybe 200-300 if you need 50gb games NOW instead of half an hour later, beside that broadband usage will be minimal for 99% of time.

    4. Paul says:

      The last game I downloaded on my ps5 took me over 9 hours. In them 9 hours I could not watch any tv due to the constant buffering. I then had to pause the download to watch tv then continue the download for the game I paid £60 for to download it while I went to bed.
      I shouldn’t have to do this should I?
      If I had 300+ meg connection I could do both, I could of even played the game I paid all that money for before I went to bed.
      Unfortunately there are a need for fast internet these days whether you like it or not.

      Oh and just to add, Openreach kindly missed off my street for fttp as it would cost them too much. The road next to me has that lovely fttp. I guess I will have to wait many years before I no longer have to live my live turning my ps5 downloads off or even putting off installing the latest windows 10 patch until I have finished watching tv.

    5. Kenneth says:

      Not Really. If you have an xbox you need 300 meg plus at least for it to download updates etc. If you use photoshop and use advanced filters you need 50 meg upload to upload and apply filters etc. PC gamers dream of getting gigabit for downloading stuff. If you are in a average house with 4k TVs, computers, games consoles, people working from home you need at least 200 meg from what my relatives tell me.

    6. Jonny says:

      My justification for opting for the 900Mbps service when it finally reaches me is to get the 100Mbps upload. If 200Mbps symmetric were available on Openreach I’d pick that instead.

    7. Kenneth says:

      Jonny,

      I have 900mb and its amazing. When you can get it ring BT and offer them a price what you think is fair. Dont fall for this 59.99 thing. I rang them and offered them 54.99 and they accepted it. 110 meg upload is amazing for uploading pix from your smartphone. Takes a couple of seconds compared to what it used to take.

    8. MikeP says:

      To everyone who makes this claim I point to a statement (well, lots of them actually) from around 1983: “Who could possibly want or use more than 640KB of RAM?”

    9. Damien says:

      @Kenneth I agree

      I have 2 FTTC lines bonded with a firebrick just to get anything decentish for upload and download – that costs well over £150 a month with all the Enhanced care for all 4 items.

    10. dee.jay says:

      As I currently pay close to £100 a month for 2 x FTTC circuits, Zen’s 900Mbps package would be cheaper for me. You bet I’ll be ordering 1Gbps when I can get it! (I am a Network Engineer by trade)

  4. TNA says:

    I think 500Mbs will become the new norm. Remember that broadcasters will eventually send all their content via fibre which includes 8k or 16k HDTV so a future where a 1Gbs connection is the bare minimum is closer than most people think.

    1. Bob says:

      8k and 16k TV is pointless I am afraid. Your eye is simply not advanced enough to benefit from the increased resolution. High dynamic range and increased frame rates are where it’s at.

    2. Mark Jackson says:

      @TNA. You’re forgetting that improvements in video codec / compression technology tend to weigh against that every 5+ years. At launch, 4K video streams needed 100-200Mbps, but thanks to modern codecs we can now do that at c.25-30Mbps, and it’ll fall further with the next planned evolution (maybe 15Mbps) – at the cost of more processing power, naturally.

      @Bob. I recall people saying the same about HD video, until bigger TV screens became the norm. As we move into a future of rollable displays that may cover an entire wall, then it’s more about the need to maintain that clarity on bigger display outputs. But certainly at present, 4K is still fine.

    3. Marek says:

      Norm for what? 50-100 mbs is already plenty for few people in flat/house, all watching Full HD or 4k content at youtube or netflix.

    4. Bob says:

      @Mark I work with 4K broadcast production every day. I can assure you there is no benefit whatsoever to going beyond 4K. In fact if you were to come to my place of work and I offered you two identical broadcast monitors side by side showing uncompressed HD on one and UHD on the other, at a comfortable viewing distance you would struggle to be able to tell the difference. The reason why you at home can see big differences between HD and UHD is due to the compression applied. Next time you watch a UHD sports broadcast mark down which bits of the programme you think are native HD and which are native UHD. I would love to see your thoughts! You have fallen into the old trap of more equals better. I am afraid not dear fellow. How you use it much more important.

    5. CarlT says:

      We focus on the central two degrees of our field of view, the fovea. Our resolution in this area is about 7 megapixels.

      So for 4k to be as good as it gets all 8 megapixels need to be within a 2 degree field of view. The more pixels within the fovea, IE the smaller the screen or the further your eyes are from it, the better the apparent resolution.

      Across our total field of view to provide perfect resolution requires an estimated 576 megapixels however nearly all of that won’t be used as it’s out of focus.

      Gaming is increasingly exploiting this. VR obviously tracks head movement but tracking eye movement is being looked at to avoid wasting resources on parts of the scene the eye isn’t focused on. In addition obviously content can draw attention to certain sections and away from others.

      There’s a way to go before display technology hits the limits of human perception.

    6. Buggerlugz says:

      CarlT, you forgot about the tenancy for game developers to use resolution scaling (or DLSS which is very similar).

    7. Buggerlugz says:

      “I think 500Mbs will become the new norm.”

      TNA, can we call it “superfast”? (Could be sold as that then, it being true.)

    8. CarlT says:

      Not really, Buggerlugz, those are upscaling of the entire image.

      I was thinking of things like VRS that take advantage of the fovea.

      On the matter of advertising it is fine. A reminder that a bunch of things that are obsolete now were advertised as the greatest. Terms of reference change and products with them. Today’s ultrafast technology will become tomorrow’s standard technology.

      Fast – Superfast – Ultrafast – Hyperfast.

      They’re just names.

  5. David says:

    I’m only getting 50mb at the moment we game a lot in our house so sum faster speeds would be nice..

  6. Darren says:

    There is too much marketing on headline speeds. Latency and jitter affect performance more. I’m on virgin media 300mb and friends with 160mb openreach full fibre package get better service, much more responsive.

    1. CarlT says:

      Marketing on bandwidth is easy. Latency and jitter marketing will only appeal to a very few and be very hard to quantify.

      VM cable has always had higher jitter than Openreach solutions.

  7. Sam says:

    Yeah good luck seeing these speeds before 2026… unless your london or manchester.

    1. Terry says:

      Down in sleepy old Paignton South Devon new build estates are getting FTTP from openreach and I’ve just signed up to Talk Talk 500mb/s for £35 per month. Not just for the big cities anymore.

    2. Freeman says:

      What price must Talk Talk get the 500Mb for in order to sell it to us for £35pm?

      Looked on the Openreach site which I believe just hands it over at the local exchange and it’s £27.28pm (£32.74pm with the vat). When you add IP transit and other ISP overheads… don’t know how it can be done for £35pm to us the customer.

      Anyone got any idea of what their cost for rent is?

    3. sebbb says:

      Don’t mention London, because FTTP on OpenReach is very very sporadic… And the altnets tend to cable only MDUs and new buildings, not residential streets. Only recently (last 3-6 months) I’ve seen an acceleration in south east london (areas where at the moment there’s not even FTTC – especially Bermondsey area)

  8. Buggerlugz says:

    Ultra-fast-plus eh! yeah cos in ten years that won’t be either. FFS OFCOM just make them quote the actual speed you are going to get and stop allow them to keep playing these silly games with consumers!

  9. MrRantington says:

    Why doesn’t Ofcom force ISPs to name services properly. No more of this silly “superfast, ultrafast, ultrafast plus” nonesense.

    Instead just name services as they are..

    60mbps FTTC
    500mbps FTTP

    It makes everything so much more consistent and easier to understand. Also no more misleading people into buying garbage.

    While they’re at it, they should force ISPs to give 1:1 download and upload speeds on all FTTP as standard – anything less is unacceptable in 2021!

    Europe has had this kind of thing for what, a decade now?

    1. Marek says:

      Stop lying, symetrical speeds aren’t standard in whole Europe.

    2. CarlT says:

      ‘Why doesn’t Ofcom force ISPs to name services properly.’

      They’ve better things to do with the taxpayers’ money that funds them than obsessively cater to us nerds.

  10. Marek says:

    @Paul
    9 hours on what, 10-20mbs connection? Are you downloading 50-100gb games daily? You don’t need 1gbs for that, 100-300mbs would be fine and what then? You’d go back to using no more then 20 mbs? Why are you talking about streaming or TV, are you watching youtube,netflix, other vod or TV?

    1. JmJohnson says:

      Try having kids and 3 consoles in the house in addition to PCs etc.
      Add the Xbox Game Pass, EA Play etc and yes… my 40/10 connection is saturated during the day and the kids still have an ever growing backlog of games.
      Just because you think otherwise doesn’t mean it’s not common now.

    2. Paul says:

      I have 40/10 connection. I don’t have a tv license so I only watch Netflix, prime, Disney plus. As it’s all streamed in 4K it’s impossible to do anything else while watching tv. If my computer starts to download an update I get a lot of buffering on the tv.
      It’s obvious that you don’t want to listen to what other people use their internet for. I guess your happy with your adsl and feel others should be too.

      I have other 25 devices online in my house and it’s only me and the wife. Alexas. Bulbs, ipad, phones, TVs, consoles, fridge freezer. Next month a car.

      A lot of devices require an internet connection these days.

  11. Jacob says:

    I find even with 300mbps down that I can’t use all the bandwidth when I want to.
    Often a new game will be in high demand so you are then limited by the distributors upload connection not my down.
    Saying that when I can fully utilise the bandwidth it does feel worth it, but then I work for an ISP so I get the top package for free. Not sure I would pay the inflated prices if I had to, but would deffo move to fibre regardless as its so much reliable.

  12. Jono says:

    Brilliant. FTTP is finally coming in the next 6-8 weeks after I ran a successful Openreach Community Partnership campaign.

    Currently with Sky for FTTC and didn’t really want to switch but the current FTTP speeds wasn’t really a huge step up.

    I do agree to a certain extent that you don’t need huge speeds. It’s true most of the time my 80/20 (sync full speed) is absolutely fine. But there are times mainly game downloads or when my son is uploading to YouTube you do see the slow down.

    For most people isps offering something like 500mbps isn’t going to put much more strain on the network as it will rarely be used but having it available when you do need is going to be great.

    Sky would have lost me as a customer but I’ll stick with them now, 500mbps for me is the perfect package.

    1. Steve says:

      Don’t expect sky to be available straight away. When openreach rolled out in my area the only provider at the start was BT.

    2. Jono says:

      Isn’t that just the isps checkers being slow to update? Can normally ring them and get them to sort it.

    3. FMac says:

      No Jono as it depends on contractual agreement for FTTP use on your exchange and if the cablelink, switches etc have been upgraded when you look to order.

  13. Optical says:

    I’m with Sky,just wish they would go with Cityfibre as several other ISP’s have done, then Sky’s 500mbps would be the perfect package for me.

  14. Lyndon says:

    Are ISP’s going to run out of names to describe the speed of their products?
    Superfast,Ultrafast/plus, Lightingfast.Whats next….Warp 1, Warp 2…..!!

    1. Buggerlugz says:

      Seems like this is an accepted way of up-selling a product so you can get out of delivering what you are actually selling to me, still saying that a lot of providers will give you a minimum speed and then not deliver on that either!

    2. CarlT says:

      https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/advice/broadband-speeds-code-practice

      Spells out consumer rights both with regards to notification of expected and minimum speeds and ability to cancel if these aren’t achieved.

      Could do worse than copy Singapore, though, in terms of optional transparency and dual, but Ofcom would require 10G to be sold as 8.224.

      Singtel both provide headline speed of the line and a detailed click through.

      https://www.singtel.com/personal/products-services/broadband/fibre-broadband-plans

      https://www.singtel.com/personal/support/broadband/typical-download-speeds

      I’m pleased to note that many ISPs at least include the headline speed in their product name now. Virgin Media and others also have similar click throughs.

      As long as the performance is made clear, though, the name doesn’t matter.

  15. Retrojac says:

    Until any other provider offers a logical solution for using your own router virgin Media will always dominate on that front. 70Mbps I get and that is ultrafast apparently the problem = the router supplied with sky is garbage and the mini extension solution doesn’t work they just won’t do it

    1. Jonny says:

      All Openreach FTTP services are terminated at an ethenet socket on an ONT, you can use any router you like as long as it supports PPPoE or Sky’s authentication method.

  16. Retrojac says:

    And for an example if you have two xbox one playing an online game and the Mrs running Netflix watching a 4k movie all on WiFi you bandwidth is choked by that the hub cannot handle it it’s 2021 and they still run the network off the premise that people use ethernet for all devices. It’s fine for phones and general use but as streaming and gaming is what this household uses it for the HUB needs to have a modem mode for a third party router.

    1. Dobo Chop Suey Bar says:

      Dude just buy a highly rated third party router such as the Netgear RAX120 to use on your virgin service.

    2. Mike says:

      Yeah I agree. After being frustrated with the VM super hub 3 for months I bought a Draytek Vigor 2620 and set the hub into modem mode and the experience is fantastic. You also get 4G fail over in the Draytek which I have never had to use, but is certainly handy as I can get about 15 meg Down and up on 4G. The one complaint is the super hub is a bit of a unit and a more sleek modem that could be W all mounted would be a nice option. I’ve had a variety of wireless routers down the years and most of them have been a bit rubbish (BT hub 5 was fine). Whilst it’s not an insignificant sum of money, spending 150 to 200 quid on a good router will make a huge difference and in many instances.

  17. Robert says:

    I would just like anything faster than 1.5Mbps, still no sign of any improvement in the near future.

    1. DrBloodsaw says:

      Man, I am sorry to hear that! that is brutally slow in this day and age! 🙁
      where do you live?

    2. Robert says:

      Rural NI, woefull, within half a mile of another cabinet but they wont extend it to me

  18. Mitch C says:

    Yes, but does the SR203 let you change the dns address yet.
    I need to point the dns address to my raspberry. I’ve so many work arounds in place at present. If it was native then I would upgrade

    1. Art Fish says:

      Why not use the Pi as your DHCP server and set your DNS from there, and disable DHCP on the Sky Router

  19. DK says:

    Not available to g.fast customers?

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