It is time to look at the speeds that people are getting from our speed test on another broadband provider. This time it is the turn of Sky Broadband who sell three main products, Sky ADSL2+, Sky Fibre and Sky Fibre Pro which are all unlimited. There is also the off-net ADSL product, but as there is no simple way to split that product out, those results will be in the ADSL2+ analysis.

The results plotted here cover the same period as the TalkTalk speeds (April 2013) we blogged about back on 9th May.

Sky do not release information on how many fibre customers they have, but we know that Openreach has only sold 200,000 to non-BT customers, and 73,000 are with TalkTalk, but what proportion of the remainder is with Sky is anyones guess. Overall only 3% of the Sky speed tests were from people on the Fibre Pro (80/20) product, 19% on the Fibre (40/10) and the vast bulk of tests on the ADSL2+ service.


Speed profile of speed tests ordered in descending download speed.

Speed profile of speed tests ordered in descending download speed from Sky 80/20 FTTC service.

 The reason for pushing forward with looking at Sky Broadband, is the ongoing complaints on some forums that people are seeing odd speeds from the fibre services. The shape of the graph is a little odd on the Pro service. The upstream speeds hold up well, but compared to other FTTC providers there does appear to be an odd bulge in the downloads speeds, where you would have expected a smoother drop off. This tends to fit in with the half speed complaints that Sky Fibre users are complaining off, and is believed to be down to some Alcatel hardware in the Sky network, rather than a configuration issue on the Openreach side of things. We can be pretty sure that this is not mis-identified connections because their upload speeds are so much better than the 9.5 Mbps maximum you should see from the slower fibre product.

There is a small caveat to the Fibre pro results and that is with the product obviously not so widely sold by Sky, and thus only counting for 3% of the tests, it is possible that data may be skewed, we will obviously continue with periodic plots and share the results.

Graph ordered by download speeds with corresponding upload speeds.

Graph ordered by download speeds with corresponding upload speeds.

The 40/10 (known as this because it is a 40 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload profile) product seems to fit the profile that we have commonly seen for providers selling a 40 Mbps FTTC based service, reflecting the fact that not everyone lives on top of their green street cabinet. For those trying to pick between Sky and TalkTalk as their chosen provider, Sky wins on upstream, because their entry level fibre service is using the up to 10 Mbps variant from Openreach rather than the fractionally cheaper 2 Mbps product TalkTalk use.

Download Speed profile for ADSL2+ service from Sky

Download Speed profile for ADSL2+ service from Sky

With some 78% of the speed tests carried out on connections that are obviously ADSL2+ based, we get a very nice graph that shows the classic shape for ADSL2+ speeds, i.e. that a small percentage get very good speeds.

The statistics that we can pull from the data are as follows:

Product Average Speed (Mbps) Median Speed ASA Compliant Speed
Sky Fibre Pro Download (up to 80 Mbps) 50.5 47.4 73.9
Sky Fibre Pro Upload (up to 20 Mbps) 16.2 17.2 18.7
Sky Fibre Download (up to 40 Mbps) 27.3 29.6 37.0
Sky Fibre Upload (up to 10 Mbps) 7.7 8.5 9.4
Sky ADSL2+ Download 6.6 5.7 13.4
Sky ADSL2+ Upload 0.7 0.7 0.9

 For those who were hoping that we would be saying that ISP X is faster than ISP Y, so far it is proving difficult to make such a simple statement. What we can clearly say though is that if you are able to get a FTTC based service and are continuing to complain about your ADSL2+ speeds, then look at the difference it can make and bite the bullet and upgrade. For those who create content, or just want their digital camera backups to a cloud storage service to be faster, FTTC is certainly the way to go.

8 Responses

  1. Paul J on 21 May 2013

    What is the X axis on these graphs?

  2. ScubaGirl on 21 May 2013

    I have found that speed tests are extremely subjective. Depending which computer I use I can get a download speed between 78-50mbps and upload between 12-18mbps. This is all on an Ethernet lead to the same router on an 80/20 connection.

  3. Jim Gayes on 22 May 2013

    Its a shame that it is not possible to show the distances from the cabinet on the horizontal axis of your graphs to show how the distance correlates to speed drop off.

  4. andrew on 23 May 2013

    X axis, the results are ordered by descending download speed. The same as when you calculate the median.

    So if you take the middle point along the X axis and cross reference to the Y axis you get the median speed for that product.

  5. andrew on 23 May 2013

    On the distances to cabinet, unless we added a please pace out distance to the cabinet on the speed test we will never know.

    For discussions on our forums when people are trying to find out when FTTC is arriving it is clear many have no idea where their actual cabinet is located.

    Even Ofcom does not use actual measurements on its ADSL/ADSL2+ averages, where they model the line length based on postcode.

  6. Neil McRae on 30 May 2013

    It could be good to align all the graphs to be the same so that one can compare and contrast.

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