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Sky Broadband UK and NOW Switch from 18 to 24 Month Contracts UPDATE

Thursday, Jun 20th, 2024 (12:01 am) - Score 2,160
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New customers of UK ISP Sky Broadband, including NOW Broadband (NOW TV), should be aware that the provider(s) will today be changing from 18-month terms and adopting longer 24-month minimum contract terms across all of their broadband, TV and triple play packages.

According to Sky, the move is intended to more closely align them with competing providers (24-month terms are now much more common) and to “continue offering our customers brilliant value, improved technology and deeper pricing.”

Longer contracts typically save new customers more money, at least during your first term, albeit with the caveat that they also lock you in for longer (i.e. the end-user takes on more risk, which can be a problem if things go wrong).

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UPDATE 11:08am

We’ve had a comment from Sky.

A Sky spokesperson said:

“The standard length of Sky TV, Sky Broadband and NOW Powered by Sky contracts have changed to 24 months, extending the in contract benefits we know our customers value. These changes apply to new or re-contracting customers – those who are currently in contract will remain on their existing term until it ends.”

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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
23 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    “According to Sky, the move is intended to more closely align them with competing providers”

    So would it be an advantage not to follow the others, having something that makes them stand out from other providers? Having smaller contracts would do that. The one reason I did look at Now broadband just over a year ago was because of the 12-month contract and the price, but with 24-month contract i would not look at them now.

    1. Avatar photo Dum dum says:

      I worked for NOW broadband, and many customers expressed their main reason for joining was 12 mth contract and the fact that they got new customer offers every 12 months, then sky took more control from NOW and that changed to mid contract price increases and moving their entire contact centre staff jobs to India, so making more money from customers while saving jobs on British expertise

    2. Avatar photo Tech3475 says:

      There is one potential benefit to Sky (as of now, AFAIK), they still let you leave due to any mid contract price rises (with exceptions e.g. VAT increases).

    3. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @Dum dum, I don’t get it, the alt net I am with offers 12-months contracts, so why can’t larger providers? Do they give that bad a service that they are worried people are going to leave? Maybe it is the alt nets they are bothered about, with more of them starting up with pretty good prices, these large providers must be worried that people will leave to get the better prices and better network that most of the Altnet offer compared to any providers stuck using Openreach network.

      I heard that sky is taking more control over Now broadband, call centres in India is not a good idea, one of the reasons I told BT years ago to shove their service where the sun don’t shine was because of their useless customer service based in India.
      Saying that, trying to understand customer service from plusnet was almost as difficult. Thankfully I did not have to use them too often, but at least it was pretty decent. Still reading from a script, which is a shame, but better all the same.

      As Phil says, 214-month contracts should be banned, but no government that we will ever have, will have the guts to do that. I can just about cope with 18-months, but having to sign up people for 24-months seems to be that they don’t think their service is that good.

      I don\t want 12-month contracts so I can leave if I find a better deal, I want one just in case the service is awful.
      I am now out of contract with Zzoomm, but I have decided to stay as the service is good, if I did move it would be back to FTTC as I can’t be bothered to go through having another FTTP network installed.

    4. Avatar photo TheOtherPhil says:

      Not for TV they do not.. I can tell you from recent experience.. Only Broadband is allowed due to OFCOM code.

  2. Avatar photo JP says:

    Won’t see me signing no 24 month contracts for anything that doesn’t have an asset involved.

    If providers such as AA and IDNet can setup new lines for £60 and give non contract options for just £72 a year more than a 12 month contract then I don’t think multiple million customer brands are exactly being fair with such commitments.

    1. Avatar photo Ed says:

      So the router (and everything it’s connected to) doesn’t count as an asset then?

    2. Avatar photo Anon says:

      No, the cheap and nasty routers that ISPs hand out aren’t an asset. In accounting terms, residential customer premieses equipment is “expensed” not capitalised, so they represent a very small cost of installation rather than an asset.

  3. Avatar photo Phil says:

    24 months contract should be BANNED! I don’t mind 12 months but 24 months (no way)

    1. Avatar photo tech3475 says:

      I wouldn’t mind 24 month contracts, it’s the mid contract prices rises that annoy me, especially given how they’re implemented e.g. RPI/CPI+x% (so you have to hope inflation is low and/or guestimate based on a high value) and certain months of the year (e.g. Christmas sales and then the price goes up 4 months later).

    2. Avatar photo Daniel says:

      I opted for a 24 month contract with Community Fibre because the price was even lower than their 12 month offer. I don’t think 24 month contracts should be banned, let the market decide. If sky/now see a drop off in sign ups you can bet they will be back 18 months asap.

    3. Avatar photo Ben says:

      Vote with your wallet. There are plenty of providers who are willing to spread the setup costs over 12 months instead of 24 🙂

    4. Avatar photo JP says:

      Daniel, if all providers go too 24 month contracts it basically leaves the market closed to competition…. all these providers want is customers locked in place and of a mindset thats “whats the point of switching”

      Look at the market from a point of view of the average consumer, they are indundated with 18 and 24 month contracts though now Sky’s switched it just going to be 24 month contracts.

      So much stigma around 3 and Vodafone merging networks but nobody bats an eyelid at the operators of fixed services and the wholesale is even more tragic.

  4. Avatar photo TrueFibre says:

    I can remember when BT was 12 month contract I looked forward to getting the new deals. As for the Indian call centre I just use chat on the Vodafone app because that’s a big language barrier is lack of communication and understanding. I understand not everyone can use the chat online feature but you can still Re-Contract like for example the price hike.

    1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      I can remember when we had no contract, Ah, that was in dial up days :).

      We did at some point have 12 month contracts on ADSL, then they went to 18 and then 24, and slowly they went back to 18 and even 12 months.
      Now we are going backwards back to 24-month contracts. 24 months is a fair bit of time and thing can happen in that time, what if you become ill and can’t work so have less money to spend or you lose your job or even your home?

      Maybe you just got to the stage where you decide you don’t need broadband or even the speed you started with.
      I can use a streaming service for a month and then drop it after that month, only to join it again a few months later if I want to. I am not saying to go to that extreme with broadband as it cost money to connect people to the network, certainly more so for FTTP, but come on, give 12-month contracts.

      If I can get away with it, I will look for monthly contracts, that is what I have with my mobile phone and one of the reason I will not have a mobile phone on a contract. Sim only for me.
      12 is the max if I really must these days.

  5. Avatar photo john says:

    The goverment havent got the balls to ban 24 month contracts
    12 months should be standard 18 months are bad enough not 24 month
    its just an excuse to get more money out of customers i had 18 month sky tv had 4 price increases in 18 months

  6. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    They can whistle in the wind if they think I’ll change from their monthly to contract. Just waiting for the “you can leave if you don’t agree with our terms” and that will be it. Youfibre an altnet even offers monthly and so do Virgin Media even if they are expensive and know which web page to go to.

  7. Avatar photo binary says:

    Aquiss (which featured in another ISPr article yesterday) are sticking with 12 month contracts for both FTTP (on Openreach and CityFibre) and FTTC / SOGEA.

    1. Avatar photo JP says:

      Acquiss need to get advertising to the public then, or not, depends how they conduct themselves with more customers.

    2. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      Acquiss is pretty expensive, for the 160Mb.s package it is £42 after 6 months, ok, add it all up and divide it by 12 it is works out around £31 a month this is on the Openreach network, more expensive on cityfibre. I suppose it is a 12-month contract and they do offer static IPs with that as well. They also say “we don’t increase costs outside minimum contract periods.” so they are going to keep the same prices until you cancel? I can’t see that happening.

      At least they still offer copper based services, but the prices are the same as the cheapest FTTP service, which is a bit naff considering the copper based services are not up to the speed of the slowest FTTP unless you live next to the cabinet.

  8. Avatar photo binary says:

    @JP I suspect that as a smaller player, Aquiss are happy to continue growing organically.

  9. Avatar photo Jason says:

    Thank god I switched over to a city fibre provider… Was considering sky for a while – but no individual IP addresses and now this? Uff… They’re no longer a good alternative to BT

  10. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    They were always going to try and dominate the Broadband market at some point. It’s what history says from domination and control of the TV market. Stuff people used to get, like Sports, under free to air/license fee and the taken away and charged a fortune.

    At one point they had PPV in their sights, and first dabbled in this area with movies. Then they tried it with certain big sport events.

    The only way for people to control this, is to take your money to another provider and defund them.

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