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Sky UK to Cut 1,000 Staff as Broadband TV Takes Priority

Tuesday, Jan 30th, 2024 (4:42 pm) - Score 8,960
Sky-Glass-Broadband-TV

Sky UK (Sky TV, Sky Broadband, Sky Mobile etc.), which is part of Comcast, has today notified staff that as many as 1,000 jobs could be cut this year as the company increasingly shifts its focus toward their internet-based (IP) TV solutions – Sky Glass and Sky Stream. Satellite TV installers are known to be one of the impacted groups.

The development is perhaps not unexpected, particularly after Sky had to deny a report in late 2022 that claimed the company had briefed their suppliers on a proposal to end the installation of new satellite dishes on homes by the end of 2023 (here). But here we are, only a few weeks past the end of 2023, and Sky’s satellite TV engineers are telling us that they expect to take some of the hit from today’s news.

NOTE: The majority of Sky’s new TV customers are choosing products such as Sky Glass and Sky Stream, although this is largely because that’s primarily what Sky has been pushing.

According to LBC, which broke the news this afternoon, a redundancy consultation will begin shortly and around 1,000 jobs are expected to go this year. Sources speaking to ISPreview have indicated that specialist / business engineers, broadband engineers and some full fibre (FTTP) trained engineers are not at risk.

The same sources claim Sky are proposing that, by 1st June 2024, they will reduce the engineering workforce from c.2,400 to c.1,900 (impacting over 400 staff). Various managerial staff will also be cut, among other roles.

A spokesperson for Sky UK said:

“The launch of Sky Glass and Sky Stream represents a shift in our business to deliver TV over IP (an internet connection) rather than satellite. Increasingly, customers are choosing Sky Glass and Sky Stream which don’t require specialist installation, and that has led us to change the number of roles we need to deliver our services.”

Just to be clear, the move is not expected to impact customers who already have a satellite TV dish installed, since satellite-based distribution and hardware support for those users is expected to continue for some years to come (they have already renewed their agreement with satellite firm SES Astra) and so some engineers will be retained for this. But as long expected, Sky is clearly continuing their shift toward IPTV, although it’s worth remembering that some consumers live in areas where broadband is still too slow for this to be viable.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
45 Responses
  1. Avatar photo RightSaidFred says:

    Inappropriate use of “funnily enough”.

    Not sure it’s ever appropriate to laugh at people losing their jobs in this way.

    1. Avatar photo Matt says:

      Little bit of a faux pas there. I’m sure it’ll get tidied up.

    2. Avatar photo MadDogTannen says:

      Come on Fred, you know Mark isn’t like that!

    3. Avatar photo Jack the lad says:

      Calm down wokey, it’s an article. Haven’t you get anything better to do than be a keybaord warrior.

  2. Avatar photo Matt says:

    It is all well and good selling IP TV services (I believe it should be the chosen direction!) but it is a bit of a no deal for people like me who have poor internet service and rely on being able to work with TV serving other members of the household. I opted for satellite delivered services for this reason. When fibre comes, I’ll be more than happy to make the shift.

    1. Avatar photo Mark says:

      I have had BT full fibre (FTTP)for 2 years now and still have SKY Q TV I have no intention of changing this unless I have to as it simply works!

    2. Avatar photo Harmeet says:

      Starlink

    3. Avatar photo Matt says:

      lol @ Starlink. TV, traditionally delivered over satellite, delivered over IP, operating over satellite.

    4. Avatar photo Rob says:

      I have 1Gb internet. I am not moving to Sky Stream. Don’t like the recording setup (or absence of it) one little bit.

    5. Avatar photo Tom says:

      It’s a complete no-go for live events also as the delay it too great.

  3. Avatar photo Paul says:

    Not fully convinced by Sky Stream as of yet, I’ll stick with Sky Q for as long as I can.

    1. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      Sky have extended their their contract with SES (Astra) for satellite until 2030. I suspect they will slowly start making content exclusively available on the streaming platforms to gently start nudging customers in that direction.

    2. Avatar photo The_Fat_Installer says:

      @Big Dave, not strictly correct

      Sky’s deal with SES runs until end of 2028.

      It was actually UKTV that renewed their deal with SES to run until 2030

  4. Avatar photo Phil says:

    Conservative Party say peoples can easy get the job there is load of jobs available!

    1. Avatar photo Tom says:

      Wonder how Boris’ and Liz’s ‘Re-training in Cyber’ is going?

  5. Avatar photo K says:

    I’d rather have Sky Steam as its more reliable and you can put it anywhere you have wifi, like if you want to move to a different room without the usual SkyQ issues. With SkyQ it was unreliable and you had to have your main box on all the time. Plus you are not charged extra rental if you have more than one box (and comes with a 31 day contract).

    1. Avatar photo tech3475 says:

      YMMV.

      Ironically I find Sky Q more reliable since my broadband has had more issues overall, granted I mainly use wired ethernet and Omada WiFi.

      Biggest issues I have with Stream is the lack of a local DVR, the cost of multi room (since I need four rooms minimum) and them wanting me to pay extra for no adverts.

      Overall it would cost me more for a worse service, would rather they make everything more like Now TV/Netflix where at least I can just use a Fire Stick.

      The only real advantage in my book is if you can’t have a dish or need that 31 day contract without multi room in more than 2 rooms.

    2. Avatar photo K says:

      I have a 31 day contract with 4 stream boxes without any additional charges. Also as I am on a 31 day contract Sky have to treat me well or they know i may leave and go elsewhere.

  6. Avatar photo Pri says:

    I considered Sky Stream recently and the fact it cannot yet record locally killed it for us. DVR functionality with true local recording is a must-have. I hope that a future Sky Stream box includes this functionality.

    1. Avatar photo Lasse L says:

      If they do add DVR functionality you can be sure they’ll disable any ad-skipping function and integrate ads the same way the Youtube app has to avoid adblockers.

    2. Avatar photo Jack says:

      Very much doubt DVR will ever happen.

      The rights holders want people using their own apps to watch the content so they can build a profile up about you etc, that’s why there’s been a rise in apps over the past couple years.

    3. Avatar photo TrueFibre says:

      Like it said in the link I shared Jack Sky will end the service to new customers in 2024 and 2025/26 for existing customers and that means they will be switching off old satellite television focusing on IPTV. I can see Virgin Media doing instead of giving people Virgin TV Boxes they will probably stream everything from one simple connection that’s the why the worlds going even Freeview is getting replaced with Freely by 2030 Freeview may go the same with 5G and 6G because they will need the Freeview frequencies for 5G and 6G.

    4. Avatar photo Scott says:

      It’s def possible to record IPTV streams so it it surprising they haven’t included it as an option.

      BT TV (Now EE TV) set top boxes have done recording of IPTV channels for years so it’s not a technical limitation holding them back. I do think Sky are holding back this type of feature in order to relaunch the successor to SkyQ in 2yrs time.

  7. Avatar photo JP says:

    Sky has been cutting jobs for Satellite technicians for years now, in 2021 the lead time for installation of Sky Q was something like 4 weeks, callout for faults was also between 6-14 days depending on season.

    Personally I wouldn’t pay Sky/Comcast a dime, the reason for this is in the title, they have very little UK based operations anymore and they cut content for customers way too much many years ago and can’t immagine thats got better.

    and the crap that spews out of its news broadcasting arm…. I’ll leave it at dissatisfactory.

    As for the engineers/techs losing jobs, they will have experiance required in the construction industry (working at heights) and may well already have qualifications giving them upper hand over some of the clowns knocking around.

    1. Avatar photo Pete says:

      Climbing up a ladder and installing a Sky dish doesn’t give somebody construction experience…

    2. Avatar photo Chris says:

      “ Personally I wouldn’t pay Sky/Comcast a dime, the reason for this is in the title, they have very little UK based operations anymore.”

      Sky have tens of thousands of uk employees

      At least 11 uk offices etc.

  8. Avatar photo Craig says:

    Sky glass will never beat satellite for sport, any sport shown over the internet is not live.

    1. Avatar photo Random Precision says:

      It isn’t over SkyQ either, there’s latency of 7-10 seconds.

    2. Avatar photo Chris says:

      All tv is delayed vs live.

      Even if you were at a match and listened via radio there would be a delay.

      It’s just not possible to get the feed processed and relayed quick enough to be viewed / listened to without a delay.

    3. Avatar photo Scott says:

      @Random Precision
      I’ve always used a bookies “In Play” timing as the closest thing to what is happening in the real world, Sky (via Sat) or live sport on BBC/ITV is always closest like you say, around that 7-10s behind.

      EE (BT) TV channels on its network for Sky Sports are (surprisingly) bang on with timing that they are not behind satellite/freeview – it’s surprising how close it is.

  9. Avatar photo Bob says:

    Party of it is Sky now faces increased competition. People are also cutting back on spending so are downgrading to lower cost options or just going to Freeview and Freesat

  10. Avatar photo Bob says:

    I suspect Freeview will go when Freely becomes established. Longer term it is certain as the existing terrestrial network is getting old and EOL an they will not want to run both terrestrial and streaming

    1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      Not for years, if Freely ever does get established, at launch only one TV manufacturer is supporting it and it is not one of what people would call the main ones. Hisense, while they sell well, io have one myself. but Hisense is not like the old well-known ones like Philips, Samsung, and Panasonic.
      No TV already produced will support it, so to get Freely people will have to buy a new TV.
      Freeview can be used in a motorhome or caravan, try doing that with freely, unless you use a mobile router.
      Still, a lot of people don’t have decent broadband or none at all.

      Maybe in 20 years or longer Freely may be a thing, but I think the majority of people who use Freeview now will stick with Freeview, unless they decide to drop linear TV and go for streaming services, which some people seem to be doing

    2. Avatar photo Bob says:

      My understanding is a Freely box will be made available so any modern TV should be able to get it

  11. Avatar photo Ex-techie says:

    I used to work for sky and why it’s not just an app you can install like netflix and even their own NowTV is beyond me. I asked the CEO why we didn’t offer mobile (at the time) as I had so many customers asking me about it whilst I was dealing with their faults, even. And was told that the company had NO plans, it wasn’t worth it. Close to two years later, they started offering it. Also, myself and a colleague worked out we could save them about £2.5mn and they weren’t interested. Their speed of innovation is glacial and so many things internally that sky does is backwards to the rest of the market. I’m surprised they’re still as big as they are tbh. Goes to prove their IPTV competitors need to step up their game.

    1. Avatar photo John says:

      That amounts to small fry wanting companies to shed workers. Shame on you

    2. Avatar photo Bulletin_Board_John says:

      “Their speed of innovation is glacial”

      However, is that not *part* of their success? Boomers who don’t want to re-learn how to use a box every 5 minutes, and stuff that ‘just works’?

  12. Avatar photo Mark says:

    The era of watching live TV is coming to an end. Far easier to just stream things as and when you want to watch them!

  13. Avatar photo Chris says:

    They’ve also ditched the EU boss so it’s likely more cuts to be announced.

  14. Avatar photo mike says:

    So if their TV is no longer coming from the sky, shouldn’t they change their name to Land?

  15. Avatar photo Bob says:

    What has not had much publicity is C4 are to axe 4 channels. These are The Box, Kiss, Magic and Kerrang. These live channels will vanish from all platforms, including Freeview, Freesat, Sky TV and Virgin Media, over the next 12 months.

    Seems to be a part of the move by C4 to transition to a Streaming platform. They have stated more channels are likely to go

  16. Avatar photo Cliff Pilchard says:

    Buddy of mine is one of the installers affected. They said 1100 people on the ‘impacted’ list, yet all were told that Sky only want to cull around 430 of them. The Press run with the ‘1000 jobs’ headline, and Sky haven’t corrected them. So which is true?

    Would imagine they want some gone in some areas but can’t just pick the ones they want rid of without ‘considering’ everyone to make it appear fair.

  17. Avatar photo Bulletin_Board_John says:

    Funny that I’m reading this, a few weeks ago a friend of a friend who is a Sky installer was diagnosed with arthritis in his knee(s) and I thought ‘hmm, he better find an office job before long’ though I also thought ‘bet that job won’t be around for much longer anyway’. Well, as it happens he has been given some sort of payout from Sky (it seems) and found himself a mainly indoor, no climbing sort of job at the local water board. Happy ending I guess!

Comments are closed

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