Sky now offers its broadband customers a 'superfast' service with speeds of up to 76Mb...
Satellite TV provider Sky (www.Sky.com) is also the UK's fastest growing phone and broadband provider. Its network delivers ADSL broadband to over 80% of the UK, and there are plans to extend it to almost 90% by summer 2013.
Sky's fibre optic broadband
In April 2012, Sky launched two superfast broadband connections. Sky Fibre Unlimited gives customers speeds of up to 38Mb, while the more expensive Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro delivers even faster downloads of up to 76Mb.
One of Sky's main selling points, and where it differs from rivals like Virgin Media and BT Infinity, is that it offers a "truly unlimited" download experience, with no usage caps and no traffic management, even at peak times of the day.
To begin with, Sky fibre optic broadband is available to roughly a third of UK homes. This figure is growing over time with the roll-out of BT infrastructure, the backbone of Sky's fibre network.
Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro will initially only be on offer to new customers, as well as existing users not currently on Sky Broadband Unlimited or Sky Fibre Unlimited. To find out whether Sky's fibre optic broadband is available in your area, use the postcode checker at broadbandchoices.co.uk.
Multi-channel digital TV with superfast broadband
Even if Sky's fibre broadband has yet arrive in your area, there may still be a way to get Sky TV channels and a superfast connection, all as part of a great value bundle.
Cable provider Virgin Media (www.VirginMedia.com) offers a range of Sky TV channels as standard, and customers can also get Sky Movies and Sky Sports through add-on subscriptions. So even without a satellite dish you can enjoy some Sky TV to complement your Virgin Media package, as well as incredible "up to" broadband speeds of 100Mb or more. Use our postcode checker to see if Virgin Media is available in your area.
Government's £830m broadband strategy
The UK government is currently investing £830million to ensure that Britain has the best broadband in Europe by the year 2015. In addition, telecoms giant BT has undertaken a £2.5billion project to roll-out superfast fibre optic infrastructure to at least two-thirds of the UK before the end of 2014. This has created a whole new market with broadband providers battling hard to offer the fastest fibre optic service.
Although Sky is not currently supplying the fastest fibre optic broadband, the strength of its brand, its increasing network coverage and the value for money of its bundles mean it is still one of the UK's favourite home phone, TV and internet providers. In fact, Sky's broadband customer base is still growing at a phenomenal rate, and the development of its fibre optic products now gives consumers another reason to consider switching to Sky.
The future of broadband
In the coming years, ADSL broadband will be largely replaced throughout the UK by superfast fibre optic connections. Fibre networks are significantly better in lots of ways, not least because they are purpose designed for the rapid transfer of large amounts of data.
The old copper wires were originally installed for the sole purpose of carrying voices whenever we made phone calls. As well as allowing much faster downloads, connection speeds do not decline with fibre optic - no matter how far from the exchange you live, you'll still get a decent speed.
This means the actual speeds you get at home are a lot nearer the "up to" speeds advertised by providers. As such, fibre optic broadband is sometimes described as being "future proof" and should bring the following benefits:
- Stream music, TV and movies with no pauses for "buffering"
- The whole family can be online at the same time with no drop in speed
- Consistently fast connections mean large files can be downloaded in minutes