The news of a 20Mbps cable broadband service at £37 a month being available in May 2007 has brought a swift response from Sky who offer their own broadband services.
"Virgin Media is pushing up broadband prices at a time when dramatic savings are available from other providers. Sky customers can enjoy download speeds of up to 16Mb per second for just £10 per month - less than a third of the price of Virgin Media's fastest service. No wonder that in the last three months of 2006, Sky added almost twice as many broadband customers as Virgin Media"Comment from Sky spokesperson
Of course, people will have read in many places over the last few weeks that buying broadband packages on price alone is not always the best way to go. One key factor for those in the Virgin Media cable broadband coverage areas is that by the use of their fibre/coax hybrid network, they are able to connect you to their network at 20Mbps. The Sky broadband services offer an up to 16Mbps speed line which may provide a much lower speed. This is because the service relies on rate adaptive ADSL, which is very dependent on the distance between your home and the local telephone exchange, amongst other factors. There is then also the question of congestion at peak times which will affect both services with results often varying from one part of the country or town to another.
In terms of the number of people signing up to the services, the information released by Sky suggests 149,000 signed up to the Sky Broadband services between Oct and Dec 2006, and 78,000 signed up to the Virgin Media cable broadband services. While this suggests Sky is winning a race, it should be remembered that Virgin Media already has 3 million cable broadband customers.