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UK ISP Sky Broadband Offer Free Upgrades for Unsecure Routers UPDATE

Friday, May 3rd, 2024 (1:42 pm) - Score 6,520

Internet provider Sky Broadband has responded to this week’s introduction of the government’s new network security laws (here), by emailing customers with older routers to warn them that their kit “no longer receives service and security updates.” The good news is that those who receive these letters might be in line for a free upgrade.

One of the measures under the new Secure by Design rules, which started being enforced from 29th April 2024, is that manufacturers and retailers must be “open with consumers on the minimum time they can expect to receive important security updates” from their smart / connected devices (e.g. broadband routers, phones, TVs, game consoles, smart doorbells etc.).

Suffice to say that this represents a new challenge for many broadband ISPs, particularly larger players with a base of legacy customers. Such customers will often still be using the same router and other network hardware that was bundled alongside their package some years earlier. Naturally, this isn’t such an issue if the internet provider is continuing to keep that kit up-to-date, but that’s not going to be the case for every device.

The first example we have of how ISPs are responding to this comes courtesy of ISPreview reader Rob, who kindly shared a copy of the email he just received from Sky Broadband. The ISP makes it expressly clear that the router he’s using, which we understand, is an ER115 (Sky Q Hub) for ADSL and FTTC lines, will no longer be receiving security updates.


The message makes reference to a new page on Sky’s website (here), which clarifies some of the key points and appears to offer customers who receive the letter a free upgrade to a more modern router. But for some reason, they’re only giving customers a month to take advantage of this.

Sky’s Router Offer Q&As

When do I need to register for a replacemet hub by?
You need to register for a new hub by 3rd June 2024.

Why do I need a new hub?
Your current hub no longer receives (or from 2025 will stop receiving) service and security updates so we’d like to offer you a new hub.

What do I need to do once I’ve registered for a new hub?
You don’t need to do anything. We aim to send out a new hub to you by 17th June 2024. Once you receive it, follow the instructions included in the box to set it up and reconnect your devices.

Who is eligible for this offer?
This offer is only available to existing Sky Broadband customers with a hub that no longer receives or (or from 2025 will stop receiving) service and security updates. You must have received an email from us about this, be the primary account holder and are authorised to make changes to the account.

However, there is a slight contradiction in the small print at the bottom of the page, where it gives a date in the past (12th April 2024) for when the offer must be consumed – that’s clearly an error. The small print also confirms that the “upgrade [is] available to recipients of the email only. Must be an existing Sky Broadband customer and currently using a Sky Hub 3 or earlier. Claim for a new hub must be received by 12 April 2024. ”

Sky can sometimes get a bit weird with their router naming conventions (i.e. sometimes using different names for identical or nearly identical kit), but for the avoidance of doubt the Sky Hub 3 is also called the Sky Q Hub – in fact the latter is exactly what Sky used on their website (here). We think Sky should also include the model number on the above page.

Overall, this is a positive move from Sky, which are being open and transparent with their customers about the realities of their hardware support. But we suspect that they won’t be the only ISP to introduce such a promotion, particularly as all providers now face the same obligation.

Finally, it’s interesting to note that Sky says “no longer receives (or from 2025 will stop receiving) service and security updates,” which might indicate that the Sky Hub 3 / Q Hub won’t be the only router to go this way in 2024.

UPDATE 7th May 2024

It took a few days longer than would have been ideal, but Sky has now directly confirmed that the email is indeed part of a “legitimate” offer and NOT a scam. Sky’s customers have been subject to a fair few similar sounding upgrade scams in the past, but this isn’t one of those, although the feedback we’ve had suggests that some of Sky’s own support staff still don’t seem to be aware of it.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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37 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Anonymous says:

    I’m going to assume the hub 2 / SR102 is included in this, then.

    Either way, nice to see.

    1. Avatar photo Anonymous says:

      I can confirm, it is, and can also confirm it’s real as well.

  2. Avatar photo Now living in fear. says:

    My NOW hub looks like the one in the photo. Anybody heard from NOW regarding a replacement ?

    1. Avatar photo Phil says:

      I received the exact same email this morning. I rang sky to discuss and they confirmed this is a SCAM email and not one sent from sky

    2. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Interesting because, as linked above, the same details are on Sky’s official website.

    3. Avatar photo . says:

      @Phil – I suspect the front line call teams have not been trained to deal with these types of queries yet.

    4. Avatar photo Phil says:

      I clicked the link on sky email I received same as the one shown and it asked me to log in which I did. It said my new router would be on its way. Then I googled and there’s been many scams like this before to get login details from you. I then rang sky and they said it was a scam and no email was sent to me today from them. Hopefully the call assistant was wrong and like someone has said they aren’t trained or updated on the emails that’s been sent. She did take a few minutes on hold to look into this though and was certain sky hadn’t sent it. Hopefully no damage done

    5. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Still waiting on Sky’s PR to respond to my queries. Details on the linked Sky page appear to be official and pass usual domain checks, including those going to Sky’s login page (skyid.sky.com). Hope to find out more soon.

  3. Avatar photo Billy Shearsl says:

    That’s good but maybe some pressure on router manufacturers is needed to support routers for some minimum term to avoid having e-waste piling up. I imagine Sky will be doing this with their suppliers as they’re not going to want the cost of replacing every customer’s router every few years.

    1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      Yep, this is the problem and not just for routers, mobile phones are the same with people being pushed new phones every couple of years, so that the providers can keep charging stupid money per month.
      My mobile phone is over 3 years old now, I think it may be closer to 4 and as long as it keeps working I will keep hold of it. I use sim only monthly contract thing.
      But with routers, I am amazed how many routers some people have stacked up in boxes. I have five myself, not including the one I am using now. But one of those five is what my ISP provided, I just don’t use it, but they can have it back when ever they want.
      even so the first of these is about 13-14 years old.

    2. Avatar photo Meritez says:

      There’s no issue with decent Router Manufacturers, say Mikrotik for example who have supported most routers for over 10 years.

      The issue is the ISPs who have cost cutting exercises to get the cheapest pile of rubbish for their services, Sky should be sending out free return envelopes and boxes for all this electronic waste they are creating. Sky should not be sending out rubbish equipment in the first place.

  4. Avatar photo Rik says:

    Any news on NOW customers? Their hardware is identical.

  5. Avatar photo Ephasus says:

    Virgin Media are doing the same for Hub1, Hub2 and Hub2 ac
    Much more generic comms though
    ‘You need a new Hub’

    1. Avatar photo Anonymous says:

      Probably to keep it super simple – never underestimate the average person in their understanding at the term “your hub is outdated – it needs replacing”

    2. Avatar photo XGS says:

      VMO2 have been trying to get rid of those for a while. They want everyone on Hub 4 or higher if it all possible. Hubs below the 3 are really bad for load balancing, hubs below the 4 are short a big chunk of capacity.

  6. Avatar photo Anon says:

    Although there is a PSTI/SBD linkage because of the requirement in that to provide information on support, I think Sky are actually doing this because of the Telecoms Security Requirements (though perhaps a bit early as it’s only required from next year).

    See M9.02 of https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/6384d09ed3bf7f7eba1f286c/E02781980_Telecommunications_Security_CoP_Accessible.pdf on page 82 which mandates that customers be offered a replacement.

  7. Avatar photo A Non Emouse says:

    Contacted NOW.Was told it only applied to SKY routers.I told them that I thought NOW HUB2 was the same as the old SKY Q Hub – but apparently it is a new version(whatever that means) -the agent I spoke to did not seem to understand when I asked whether it received service and security updates.

  8. Avatar photo Slinky Malinke says:

    This does look like the NOW hub.

  9. Avatar photo Anthony says:

    This situation is utterly ridiculous and causing insurmountable e-waste destroying the precious environment. All these ISPs need to do is allow their routers to have OpenWRT flashed onto them. That is it. Would take them a day to solve this issue and then the routers can be updated for infinity years not costing them a penny.

    1. Avatar photo Munehaus says:

      This. It’s insane they want to reinvent the wheel, then when they find they can’t prefer to make landfill and prevent anyone else from fitting wheels.

    2. Avatar photo tech3475 says:

      Are we talking in terms of existing customers keeping the same CPE? If so then I really doubt this would be practical for most people who want a turn key solution.

      IIRC it was also really annoying trying to setup DHCP Option 61 (required for Sky) on DD-WRT as well, although this was several years ago.

      Remember as well that the customer typically these days don’t own the equipment and you have things like remote diagnostics software involved.

      If they were to do this, it should be on the resale market, just unlock/reflash the firmware and sell them on eBay or something.

      That said, I would like it if more ISPs made ISP routers optional and supplied SIP details for any VOIP instead of requiring you to have their router, although I can understand this somewhat from a diagnostic standpoint.

    3. Avatar photo MRLeeds says:

      I’m a technical user, and do use openwrt and it would be nice if they supported it. But let’s be honest, from a usability point of view the project is terrible. It’s not fit for purpose for most users nevermind everyday consumers. Even doing something basic like setting up a WiFi repeater is a 30 step process requiring bridges across subnets.

    4. Avatar photo 125us says:


      I’m not sure you’ve thought this through.

    5. Avatar photo . says:

      No ISP is going to allow third party firmware to be flashed onto one of their routers, It just isn’t going to happen.

    6. Avatar photo Me says:

      You are purely thinking in terms of your own personal experience. For an ISP with the customer base Sky has it would be utterly disastrous to put a third party incredibly complex to use firmware on its own routers. A VERY bad idea indeed.

    7. Avatar photo Anthony says:

      But what is wrong with allowing the option as opposed to just sending the routers to the skip to become e-waste?

    8. Avatar photo tech3475 says:

      “But what is wrong with allowing the option as opposed to just sending the routers to the skip to become e-waste?”

      1) It’s relatively complicated (I think I had to setup a startup script for Sky and DD-WRT because of DHCP Option 61)
      2) It makes diagnostics more difficult

      I literally just switched over to Sky yesterday and had to temporarily use their router instead of my pfsense thin client because of some weird gremlin in my network I only solved (I hope) today.

      As I said, If these are recycled for WRT, IMO it would be better to collect them, reflash them and then sell them on ebay or something. For their actual customers, I can fully understand Sky wanting a KISS approach to CPE.

      On a side note, I’m actually wondering now how many ‘WRT capable users’ are actually relying on these instead of their own equipment?

  10. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    Standby in the future for ISPs to start charging for their router (as they now need to do more regular security updates over longer periods) or offering the choice to use your own (except Virgin as HFC areas they don’t want cable modems outside their control). If some of them can offset responsibility and cost to consumer, I am sure they will have a think about it.

    So the act was to help business reduce cost after all then…

  11. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    OpenWRT may be for tech savvy people, but on a selection of Asus routers, there is Merlin firmware which is very easy to flash and is brilliant. Asus oversee the developer who adds features before Asus do and fix bugs before Asus do.

    1. Avatar photo tech3475 says:

      Given that Merlin is just a modification of the official AsusWRT builds, long term support isn’t as likely though.

      For example, there are newer builds of DD-WRT for my old RT-AC56U whilst Asus/Merlin dropped support years ago.

      The way I look at merlin is more of a ‘power user’ build of the official firmware.

      Also, I just checked and due to licensing OpenWRT is crippled for Broadcom devices (e.g. no 5Ghz support) whilst DD-WRT has a licensing agreement in place.

  12. Avatar photo GothBoyUK says:

    Apparently I am not eligible for a replacement even though I’m using a SR101 that appears to have a software date of 2020 (according to an online search). Once again, stiffed by Sky. No, I don’t really have any option to go elsewhere before anyone suggests it, long story.

    1. Avatar photo name says:

      I kinda want to read your story now

  13. Avatar photo Anon says:

    This has not been communicated to at least the engineering staff who will have to deal with the fall out, but this is commonplace for us to read something in the press then eventually we get briefed on it. The naming convention is typical Sky…useless/confusing. I believe there are 2 hubs that look the same 3 and 3.5 so it may only be the older hub 3’s and below that are affected.

  14. Avatar photo GDS says:

    Don’t Sky technically loan all SkyQ kit to customers, so are responsible for them anyway?

    1. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      On Now Broadband, if you go monthly and pay for the router, you own it. Its based on Sky Q router. No word from Now or even a web page about whether its got a short security update lifecycle before EOL.

    2. Avatar photo GDS says:

      @anonymous, are you sure?
      from Now’s T&C’s

      NOW Full Fibre 100 powered by Sky: Available to 40% of UK homes. Average download speed: 100Mbps. Subject to status. See sky.com for more details, usage policies and to check your speeds. General: Separate contracts apply to NOW Full Fibre 100 and Sky Talk. Non-standard set up may cost extra. You must get consent required (e.g., landlord’s). UK, Channel Islands, and Isle of Man residential customer only. Sky Hub is loaned to you at no cost. It must be returned at the end of the broadband subscription. “Your Broadband and Talk services will be supplied by Sky”. Correct at 27/09/2023. Further terms apply.

    3. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      my understanding is they don’t normally enforce it. It also says about stopping your subscription (monthly not 18 months) and if you re-enable to use the existing router. If you had sent it back, you wouldn’t be able to do this. I don’t actually use their router anyway as use Openreach modem to my own router using dhcp option 61, but I did check their site out because if there is ever a fault, you have to connect their router to be supported…

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