back to article Sky drops download limit and tops satisfaction poll

Sky has dropped gigabyte download restrictions on its "Max" package in order to offer unlimited broadband without any "fair use policy" chicanery. The terms of its LLU ADSL2+, £10 per month product were quietly altered in mid-August to drop the caveats. Limits on downloads for both new and existing customers have disappeared, …


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  1. The BigYin

    International Calls

    Is Sky gave me "free" international calls and and "free" broadband (the TV I can take or leave) for a price comparable to TalkTalk, then I'll switch.

    Until then - nope.

  2. Jamie


    I currenlty have Plus net and will stick with them until the new year to see what happens. I currently have unlimited during off-peak and a 20GB limit during Peak times of 16:00-23:59. But I have to say with this package it is becoming more enticing to leave and move everything to Sky.

  3. Andy ORourke
    Thumb Down

    How long....

    Until they get enough users signed up and then realise they can't really support so many "Unlimited" sessions?

    I personally don’t believe anything web related (disk space, bandwidth, uploads / downloads etc) should be sold as unlimited. There is always a finite limit to what can be provided.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    And where is BeBroadband then, and more to the point, who is this Have always used (used to be the defacto checker called

    Not sure about this... Hmmm.. Black Helicopters at work..

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good service

    I jumped from VM about 6 months ago, apart from SKY's stupid naff little modem/router which can't port forward(!), which I replaced with a LinkSYS, I have nothing but praise for the value for money and service I got. I have downloaded dirty great distros, Oracle kit and other large, ahem offerings. The speed is solid and dependable even during the "rush hour". I only get 5.5MB/s on a 16MB line, but even at that speed it's a darn sight cheaper than VM's naff little 2M service which I was paying £30/month for!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    How About Be*

    Be Unlimited and Be Pro both offer truly unlimited downloads. With Pro I get 16.1 down and 2.1 up and a static IP. Ok it isn't as cheap as Sky, but with Sky you have to have phone or TV anyway, and as I dont generally get to watch TV other than Top Gear and have a mobile I do not use either of the above.

    The gravestone as El Reg consistently do not mention Be*

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My Sky 'Max' broadband seems to be stuck at around 200kb/s no matter what time of the day or night I use it. Annoying.

  8. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: How About Be*

    O2 is Be*.

    - Chris

  9. Chris

    Is O2 ad right?

    Last night I saw an O2 ad saying that they were top for customer satisfaction for their broadband. Was that a different survey?

  10. samtheengineer

    peak times

    "So we’re also making a commitment to customers taking our Base, Mid or Max products that we will not slow down their connection speeds at peak times."

    So that means they will be slowing them down at off-peak times then :p

  11. David Male

    LLU Con

    "...but it is among the cheapest (assuming you've got satellite TV). "

    You forgot to add:

    ...AND live in a connurbation.

    I have three broadband connections and three Sky subscriptions in different parts of England, but NONE of them qualify for Sky broadband offers.

    Since the cost of providing the satellite TV service is uniform across the country, it means that I am subsidising every one else's Sky broadband and phones?

  12. Patrick Weber

    Where's Be?

    Actually, Be was specifically excluded because of insufficient sample size.

  13. Rick Eastwood

    Limit ?

    I didnt even know they had a limit on their Max package. Ive downloaded hundreds of gigabytes of stuff and theyve never bothered me.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Re: Good service by AC

    I don't what "crappy little router" you got, but with my Sky BB Max I got a Sky branded Netgear one and it works a treat. Port forwarding, Dynamic DNS, decent wifi reception, and a 15.5Mbps connection (still disappointing when you can see the exchange from your front door).

    I'd happily recommend moving the lot - when BT pulled their little "sign up for 1 year minimum to get free evening and weekend calls" stunt (after 10 years of being loyal, they wanted me to be loyal or pay more...) we moved line rental and broadband over and in the process saved over £15 a month.

    And as far as installation goes, I've never, ever, had an easier broadband self-install.

    BTW, my fave broadband site is - tells you the techy details about your exchange and gives you a list of LLU operators in a nice, easy to read list.

  15. Chad H.

    Be is kinda 02.

    Be offer fastpath and include a free static ip address. O2 are cheaper but offer I'm support (be is Bulgaria) and non llu access if llu isn't available. Both brands are managed seperately, even though o2 own be and share the llu network.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Timelimited Unlimited

    I give them a month, maybe 2 tops, before they realize exactly how much they are gonna be raped into oblivion.

    me sticks with entanet :D

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @The BigYin

    there is a considerable difference between talk talk's 40gb oh so huge cap and sky's non existant one (at least for now) lol

  18. Anonymous Coward

    thinkbroadband == luddite central

    I had Sky and I liked it on the whole, tech support was and is naff, Level one staff in SE Asia, Newcastle and NI are the pits, the South American lot are great though, actually able to tell someone who knows about computers from the usual drool merchant callers.

    O2 is to Be* as UKOnline is to Sky, same ownership diff packages and have heard Be* seem to be better at sorting things out, (Still not enabled on my exchange...current estimate is now end of november...was october...sigh :( )

    On the subject of ThinkBroadband I recently gave up posting comments on stories there due to people attempting to shout me down when I pointed out they were talking out of a hole in their arse. (my reply within parenthesis )

    For example

    "Criminal gangs can use your wireless from 5 miles away, I saw it on the BBC" - (if they could it would be slow as treacle due to the decrease in throughput/speed with every repeat given wireless has a best case 100metre useable distance and panorama is no better than the worst of the tabloids for journalism quality)

    "You obviously know nothing about wireless and your naive, I suggest using a timer to turn your router on and off multiple times a day is the best solution to wireless security" -> (yeah if you want to fry it maybe from minor repeated shocks to the electronics...try WPA or WPA2 [I included simple descriptions of what WPA and WEP are for the "man in the street")

    *sigh* Can't we ban muppets from IT sites to stop them spreading harmful information.....idiots like *cough* comnut *cough* make me want to acquaint him with the BOFH's insulation tester

  19. Jamie

    One-way modems

    I use to work as tech support in the US and one of the locations had users with one-way modem. If you wanted always on you would need an extra phone line. But for this you got downloads over satelitte and uploads over phone lines. This would mean some customers getting connection speeds at rediculous levels compared to other Cable and ADSL packages at 3 and 4 times the cost.

  20. pctechxp

    Be is O2 and O2 is Be

    If you do a tracert from an O2 connection most of their routing equipment is in the domain

  21. pctechxp

    No surprise

    Just watch their network slow up when the P2P merchants hammer it and there'll be nothing they can do.

    Ha ha, I may yet see my dream of a penniless Rupert Murdoch.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    forget cheapest , whats the up/down ratio like ?

    "By Chris Williams Posted Wednesday 17th September 2008 14:15 GMT

    O2 is Be*.

    - Chris"

    sure BE* seems good, and they apparently have the UKs best generic upload speeds available and their ratio isnt so bad for that at around 8 to 12/1.

    Virgin Media have BY FAR the WORST official broadband RATIO IN THE WHOLE UK, perhaps most of the developed world infact,26/1 and it going to get even werse with the 34/1 D/U ratio that the new 50/1.5 Mbit will bring., neil doesnt want you to know this , never mind covering it in broadband news stories.

    how about covering this BB ratio subject ElReg writers, we need to let the wider paying customers know and make the UK wake up.

    it really comical that BE on old copper wire are easy beating the so called VM fibre upload rates by miles and for a very long time now, all because Neil wants to save cash for his executive teams bank accounts at the expense of massively reduced UBR/linecard spend and over subscription of NW (baguley building)served and other area's.

    how about switching to, and highlighting the RATIO of the UK ISP providers offerings far more in news stories, so as to get that far better indicator in the minds of the dumb users that think download is everything.

    download isnt everything , you NEED far better upload to service your download requests and you end users need to start understanding this, and demand better upload ratio's with your payments every month.

    for instance that new Virgin Media 34/1 upload/download ratio for the 50Mbit/s package comeing out, the UPLOAD rate will never sustain that full binary download speed as its not high enough as a generic ratio , they might just as wel advertise it as 100Mbit as your not goin got see that speed eather with such a low upload ration.

    its clear VM wil be breaking yet another false advertising law as mentioned in the story above if they dont increase the upload ratio so you can get the generic download speed your paying for in your contract.

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. WonkoTheSane

    Sky broaband? Where?

    It doesn't matter to me what their caps are (or aren't), they won't install their kit at my exchange.

    So I'm looking at Be for next year. (Unless Phorm rears its ugly head)

  25. adnim

    kudos to Sky,

    providing they don't change the TOS again when they have boosted their customer base. It's sad but life has taught me to be cynical.

    I may investigate, If Sky broadband is available without the TV or other services I could be interested, but the thought of giving money to Rupert Murdoch does put me off.

    Cynical and principled, makes life difficult.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Sky (always?) unlimited

    I've just moved from Sky to Be (I didn't want to pay for TV that I never watch any more, and Be had just become available - otherwise I had no problems with Sky apart from the router being crap), and I never had any complaints from Sky for breaching download limits / AUP / FUP nonsense.

    I think my heaviest month topped 700 GB, so they obviously didn't care that much before...

    Still, nice to have it in writing. Like Be do.

  27. Andy Tunnah

    sky BB is sexier than the idea of a hundred core chip

    i switched from pipex (bastards screwed me over royally tried to charge me £1000 because they switched my package without informing me) to sky 16mbit and i have to say it really does create a slight twinge in my groin area every time i go to download stuff

    and i mean EVERY time, i regularly max it out at 1.4mb/s from places that allow such speeds, and from what i've seen they don't turn the dial down during peak times

    i literally couldn't be happier with broadband, its like the first time i switched from dial up to adsl some 10 years back!

  28. Colin Wilson

    @ AC / Restrictions

    Are you on an LLU enabled exchange ? ( to check) - if not, Sky use a "bought in" service which is inferior to their full LLU broadband service.

    It might also be worth you looking at your line stats to see if you've got a crap noise margin, and checking that you haven't got any faults on your internal wiring (unscrew the face plate, and plug the router directly into the test socket behind the face plate - if the speed picks up, you've got an internal fault you need to investigate)

    I've been with them since the end of March 2007 and it's been the best ISP for reliability i've known since I first got on the net in around 1995 ! (having said that, there were a couple of hours downtime last night, not sure whether it was a local mains fault that caused it... it's certainly the first downtime I recall though !)

  29. David Beck

    To those forecasting doom to Sky's network

    Just a reminder to all of those that are forecasting the collapse of Sky's network due to the massive downloads by all those switching to the unlimited Max accounts. Sky sells broadband to Sky TV customers, no one else. So you better be prepared to become a Sat TV customer to do the downloads. Personally I've never had a problem but then I suspect I've never broken 100GB in a month, and that mostly MSDN and various Linux distros for testing, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

  30. space
    Thumb Up

    Great service

    Some of you guys really are negative cnuts - try giving credit where its due.

    "what about the true cost of sending all that data over their network? Surely £10 + TV sub cannot cover it if someone downloads hundreds of Gigs a month..."

    I have the £5 per month, 8gb service ( and I actually get a 8gb service too ).

    Ive consistently downloaded appox 15 gb per month for over 12 months now without any problems. From my experience, I think everyone's been unlimited from day one - not bad for £5 per month, and £15 for the TV. compares quite well with the £ 24 a month I have to pay BT/BBC for services which I dont use.

  31. The Voice of Reason

    Virgin Media's dirty secret

    "Although it restricts the heaviest users' speeds at peak times, Virgin Media doesn't ration data"

    It's pretty close to rationing, when you consider that (the last time I checked) peak times are classed by VM as 10am to 3pm & 4pm to 9pm ie. most of the useable day. And if you download more than 300MB during these times, your speeds are throttled right back for another 5 hours.

    Try & find this fact on their website though -it's kept well hidden.

  32. Graham Lockley

    Bandwidth costs money

    As the title says, shifting those bytes costs the ISP's money. After suffering a VM cable connection for a few months (BBC site timed out at 6pm on a regular basis) I'm cynical about any 'unlimited' claims. Packet shaping is almost certainly used by nearly all ISP's now so Sky are probably no different. The big difference is that NOTHING would tempt me to put money into the hands of the Dirty Digger, no matter how good the company they bought are (look it up, it ends with NET).

    I strongly suspect the 'no limits' is a loss leader designed to win market share, lets see how quickly its dumped once its done its job.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Today, I have been mostly ...

    Ditching VerminMedia and their so-called 'unlimited' throttled ccrap they call broadband and am now throwing the same amount of cash to Be internet for a much faster service.

    Paris ... because I'd buy her for a $1 and expect 0.99c change

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How many gigabytes?

    "Currently most providers don't tell their customers how many gigabytes are considered "fair", because admitting to a number would mean "unlimited" (fair use policy applies) marketing campaigns would breach advertising regulations."

    Weird that, the ASA don't seem to mind at all:

  35. Carl Williams

    2 Years on that package

    and no real problems, I can only get 2.7meg but I do live quite far from the exchange and the most a BT bundled service could offer was 1meg so I;m happy enough. There was a 40gig cap on it but I reckon with my speeds I could never have got anywhere near it until sopcast and TVU, so it's good to see I shouldn't get any problems now.

  36. Dapprman

    BeThere Call Centre != O2 Call Centre

    BeThere might give the performance, but they justifiably score badly for customer support. I'm not alone with getting extremely pissed off with poor quality call centers (Eastern European with poor English speakers reading scripts (Bulgaria ?)) and slow response (2-7 days normally beyond call acceptance) with their online system. Oh and always being told it's not their fault.

    From what I've read of the O2 customer service it sounds like they are using their own central call centres rather than BeThere's.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    @Andy Tunnah

    I think you mean 1.4MB/sec, no?

  38. Aortic Aneurysm

    Be* and 02

    Are they not the same company now ? I'm sure be* is one of the "wholesalers"

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ SPACE

    8gb?...8 megabits maybe? unless you have fibre link hidden somewhere?

    @ bandwidth costs money

    Might happen but personally I dont see it happening, its a useful hook to persuade people who dont have sky tv to take it on, plus news corp (skys parent company) have very deep pockets.

    Its like supermarkets policy on bread pricing...sell it for less than cost to get peoples attention and get them interested in other products

  40. Nick
    Thumb Up

    I wonder...

    ... if rather than traffic 'shaping', they'll go to traffic 'removal' by booting subscribers who P2P.

    I'm hoping that the next round of Sky hardware will support broadband rather than PSTN for its call home, and allow for iPlayer like functionality directly with the Sky Box (provided of course you get your BB from Sky :D )

  41. Stuart Oram


    While I'm here ... can someone give me an idea of a "decent" SNR? I know how to find it, but have no idea what is good & what is bad, and I'm getting a lousy 96kbps-128kbps upload......few months ago was getting 320 consistently...

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    I've had Sky BB since the beginning of the year. We switched from Virgin because I got an offer of a full Sky+ tv package at 1/2 price for 12 months through my company and we decided to take up the £10 a month for 16Mb service as I was working from home on and off and the speed came in handy. Plus I like downloading large torrent files!

    The broadband service has been patchy, not I hasten to add, due to any fault of Sky's but because the line from my house to the streetside box needs replacing and BT are too cheap to do it. So every 3 or 4 months I've had to go through the hassle of raising a ticket with Sky to confirm that it was nothing at their end that was causing my line to operate at under 512kbps and then calling BT to arrange for an engineer to come out and swap our line onto a new pair. This has now happened 3 times and I had to make dozens of calls to Sky to acheive this.

    I can only praise the attitude of the Sky tech support staff. They were quick and courteous at all times (and I found the weekend staff were better that the weekday ones!). My only problem with them is that the team responsible for the fault never actually contacted me directly to say that the issue/trouble ticket was being closed or checked if the problem had actually been resolved we just got a computerised voice mail on our BT 1571 to say "Your issue has been resolved" which a couple of times meant I had to phone up and open another ticket.

    My line is currently at 7782Kbps downstream or something similar and has been for over a month with no discernible problems during peak hours.

  43. Matt
    Thumb Up

    Can't port forward?

    "apart from SKY's stupid naff little modem/router which can't port forward(!)," I have a version 1 router and happily forward ports on it......

  44. Alex Wright

    VM DO limit downloads

    Virgin Media definitely DO limit downloads with a speed cap during peak hours. I've been with VM for 8 years and on the 20 meg package you get limited to 500KBPS once you've DL'ed 2GB. Peak hours seem to me to be 4PM to 12AM. Don't bother trying to talk to their tech support about it as they don't even know what traffic shaping is let alone how they are applying it or download throttles.

    Saying that, the VM 10meg package is the one to go for as they can actually sustain 10meg (barring the throttling). With the 20meg you'll rarely see it and performance can and does drop as low as 70Kbps (at any time). With the 10 meg it stays at 10 meg consistently (barring throttling).

  45. Dave

    I'm alright Jack

    All I know is I'm getting 15.5Mbs for £10 compared to 4Mbs for £25 off VM. After one phone call I got a setting changed to decrease my latency in online games to lower than VM's was. The connection is solid, has been completely problem free and is neither throttled nor Phormed.

    I couldn't give a toss what everyone else's experience is or isn't. I'm laughing mate so stick that in yer pipe and smoke it. Muahahaha!

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Sky Network

    Just to say that Sky's network is really Easynet in disguise - they bought them out to be able to use their network for the BB.

    That's why they can offer such a great deal + Easynet host a heck of a lot of sites themselves - so it's just internal network traffic ;-)

  47. b166er
    Black Helicopters

    it's a trap

    Murdoch doesn't want you downloading unlimited movies for free when you should be paying him for the privilege.

    So, open all the taps right up, encourage the pirates and then collaborate with the media moguls and fine the fuck out of them, yarrrr!!!!!!!!!!

  48. Arnie
    Paris Hilton

    but still in bed with the BPI

    unfortunatly sky are still in bed with the BPI and seeing as there is absolutly zero need for "unlimited" broadband unless your downloading ISO's etc. I cant see this move as being a boon. A bit with the BPI and a bit with Phorm I am considering a move aweh from sky

    paris cause she likes to download one night in paris

  49. Anonymous Coward



    "Although it restricts the heaviest users' speeds at peak times, "

    This applies ONLY to a customer who is not on Sky's network, Sky Connect where IPstream is used to re-sell the BT product.

    There is NO TRAFFIC SHAPING/THROTTLING etc etc at ANY time and they state it here:

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Up until recently i was with sky max for 18 months, at the time of sale was told it was a totally unlimited package, so i took FULL advantge of that fact.

    I downloaded hundreds of terrabytes of data in that 18 months and not once did sky complain...

  51. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)



    Please read the article. The passage you quote refers to Virgin Media.

    - Chris

  52. TimM


    "There is NO TRAFFIC SHAPING/THROTTLING etc etc at ANY time and they state it here:"

    Try this one...

    T&Cs clearly state they will *optionally* traffic manage the heaviest users between 5pm and 12am. They will certainly monitor use in this period.

    Like with many ISPs who've gone down this route they're not stating how much is too much and only quote a finger in the air figure of 2% of users will be affected (which I'm sure will be a gross underestimate). Past experience has been that this leads to heavier implementations of traffic management over time.

    What it all comes down to is capacity. If they are running short of capacity they WILL traffic manage unless they invest in more capacity (which means price rises). It's either that or everyone grinds to a halt.

    Should be noted that Sky Max is an LLU product and as such is not going to benefit from BT's 21CN upgrade which is rolling out (which will delivery "up to" 24mbps amongst other things, including much better Quality of Service, greater flexibility for ISPs and cost savings).

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