Skip Navigation

Sky response to 20Mbps service from Virgin Media
Thursday 15 March 2007 23:03:09 by Andrew Ferguson

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.


Posted by CARPETBURN over 10 years ago
Yes Mr Sky Spokesperson (wonder what tard that was?) you offer it sooooo much cheaper then Virgins new £37 for 20Mb broadband cos you FORCE your customers to subscribe to your TV service that displays nice blocky pictures in bad weather..... Am i the only one that thinks virgins and skys silly little arguing is like being back at primary school???
Posted by gaydarren over 10 years ago
The little squabble between virgin and sky is really getting ridiculas. its most definately not in the best interest of the public. The amount of people I speak to are also voicing dissatisfaction on both companies in regards to their bickering.
Posted by gunnersboy over 10 years ago
To be honest though we can see it's more Sky who are arguing with Virgin. All Virgin did was announce 20mb which was planned even before the squabble started with Sky. It was Sky who then came back and decided to release the statement in question. I believe Virgin will win this one if they stay out of it. After all who would want an ISP like Sky when they spend their time arguing instead of improving the service. Virgin Media are putting money to improve Customer Service and improving their network. Sky...shut up!
Posted by bobbler over 10 years ago
MR CarpetBurn.
While it may be that Sky force the uptake of their TV packages with it, dont they start at like £15 or something? (and you get Lost/24 for that LOL) so it still comes in cheaper by a high margain.
Both have their plus points:
Sky + on availability
Sky + on price
Virgin + on the speed
Virgin + on the technology (20 meg if you are cabled)

Sky - on the number of people who can actually get the full 16 meg
Sky - on the product tie ins
Virgin - on the product availability,
Virgin - on the price.
Posted by doowles over 10 years ago
Cable technology is far superior, it's a simple fact.
Posted by Dave2150 over 10 years ago
Mr Sky spokesman, wouldn't it great if the general public realised that thousands of lines will never connect anywhere near the 16mbit mark, due to the inferiour technology used to supply the service.

With Virgin Media's 20mbit server, you will connect to the serive at 20mbit, guaranteed.

However, due to congestion you may or may not see speeds advertised for either services. At least with Virgin Media's product every single user will connect at 20mbit, and have the chance to download at that speed.
Posted by chrisac over 10 years ago
on cable for a long time , i have never yet had to call an engeneer out, i gave bt broadband a try, on the up to 8 mb service it lasted 3 months, my line could support 2mb but in reality i only conected at this speed for the first several hours, my best after that was 300 - 400k bt didnt seem intrested in the slightest and didnt even quibble when i ended my contract, so how dare you mr sky spin doctor,tell me about your sky broadband running upto 16mb, maybe it will if i was living next to my local exchange
by the way i am approx 1.2 miles from my exchange, and that's by road

Posted by bobbler over 10 years ago
NTL/Virgin are hardly supplying 20 meg everywhere though are they?
They reach a small percentage of the market in comparison to the availability of ADSL products.
True not everyone can have 16 Meg, but then when the phone system was installed decades ago they never envisaged people running high speed data over it. Its not about distance, its about line SNR/att.
Posted by Dave2150 over 10 years ago
bobbler ,

Cable is available to 54% of UK households.

Also, you cant get sky 16mbit anywhere in the uk either. Not all exchanges have been unbundled.

Your argument is flawed.

Also, are you saying that its not sky's fault that its using the old local loop to deliver its new service? Then why dont they build their own network like Virgin media have?
Posted by jchamier over 10 years ago
Using the "build your own network" is an interesting argument. Telewest/NTL were actually bankrupt, due to the billions of £'s invested in physically digging up the road in the early 90s. Its just not cost effective.

Is it really 54% of households? I know quite a few people who have cable in the street, but can't get digital or broadband.
Posted by bobbler over 10 years ago
54% of households? Isnt it actually 54% of counties? lists Avon as a serviced area, but its not. A part of Avon is a large part of anything outside Bristol centre is not.
You can get 16mbit on Sky, I am using it right now, so why say you cannot get it ANYWHERE?
Your argument is flawed, no, its actually just rubbish
Posted by Tazfan over 10 years ago
Sky can go jump. I used to be with them, but never again. Murdoch is a complete waste of oxygen.
Branson is a cool, down to earth person, and has a good reputation. he will do a lot of good for what was NTL.
Posted by johntw over 10 years ago
my sky bband runs at 4.9. told that is it

Posted by navster over 10 years ago
"Sky customers can enjoy download speeds of up to 16Mb per second for just £10 per month"

I wish PR people would get their facts right, try 16 divided by 8.. so that's 2mb per second. Mbit/s isn't the same as MB/s.
Posted by plesbit over 10 years ago
So much sniping, not all of it accurate. For example, 16Mb is indeed 16Mb. What it is not is 16MB, which would be 8 times faster - but then nowhere have they claimed that.

Cable availability figures are generally rubbish. I used to live an NTL cabled town but I lived in three different locations in my time there and only one could have actually got cable. Not that Sky have unbundled the exchange either.
Posted by navster over 10 years ago
Fair do's, I take my comment back. Although 'Mb' is still too close to 'MB' for comfort. When you're commenting on it vocally then its impossible distinguish the two unless you say 'mbit' or 'megabit'.. which is how it should be written down.

IMO it's very confusing for any non-technical person to understand. The average Joe would think he'd be getting 16 megabytes per second when in fact he'll be getting just an 8th of that.
Posted by boleskine over 10 years ago
Anyone thinking of going to sky for Broadband had better be sure that they are telling you the truth about the expected speed they can provide.
After being told that 6mbs would be my expected speeds I proceeded to sign up with Sky. During the next 3 weeks I was unable to get a service more than 1.2 mbs. I opted out under the 28 days rule. Why did they not tell me about the problem of slow speed before I signed up. In summary dont bother with Sky Broadband unless they guarantee the speed you pay for. I signed up for Virgin Media cable broadband & had a quick installation & a fast service
Posted by KMWA over 10 years ago
I thought with cable, a whole street shared the bandwidth, so if there are not many users, then the service is fast, however if there are quite a few users then the speed is reduced ?
Posted by streaky81 over 10 years ago
No, on cable it's 10Mb === 10Mb, at any time, the only thing that can slow it down is the UK backbone grinding, which is rare (it's happened like twice in the last year) and obviously impossible for NTL/Virgin to do anything about.

Oh yeah, and there was that time when the french god slice-happy with the transatlantic cables.. and a few months ago when L3 totally destroyed the pipes in the US, basically, if you've got a net connection problem it's usually backbone related.
Posted by Fedup_of_isp_lies over 10 years ago
Sorry but i am currently on Virgins 10mb and i get anything from 1.5mb to 6mb for the last 4 months now.
I got in touch with tech and they say they will downgrade me to 4mb because my modem is incompatible? i used to get 9.5mb when it was NTL with the same modem and why is it easier to downgrade me than sort out my connection for the speed i have been paying for since 10mb first came out.
I am very dissapointed to say the least especially when you think how many users are in effect overpaying for a service there not getting.
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.