Come on SKY pull your finger out!

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Sky Broadband appears to have quietly unveiled the pricing for their forthcoming “Sky Ultra Fibre Optic” service in the city of York (England), where they’re working alongside Cityfibre and TalkTalk to roll-out a new 940Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH/P) network. Oddly, line rental still exists.

The most recent coverage update suggested that around 5,000 of the planned 20,000 premises for Phase One of the deployment (note: this will still leave around 60,000 to be done), which is supported by an investment of £5m from each ISP, have already been completed (here); mostly in the Huntington, Groves, Clifton and Rawcliffe areas.
The first customers are due to go live this Autumn 2015 and we already know that TalkTalk will charge customers a single price of just £21.70 per month to receive this service on an 18 month contract, which is incredibly cheap and includes both a free “Super Router” and installation. But until now Sky’s pricing has been unknown.
Interestingly Sky have kept surprisingly quiet about the new service, perhaps not wishing to boast before it has some serious coverage, and pushed out very little PR concerning their own specific plans. This is in stark contrast to TalkTalk where everybody from the CEO down seems happy to talk about their grand aspirations to reach 10 million UK premises.
In keeping with this theme it’s perhaps no surprise that first learn of Sky’s UFO pricing through whispers that pointed us towards a quiet update on the operator’s official website. So what are customers going to be offered? Apparently three “ultrafast, ultra-reliable and totally unlimited” packages (contract length unknown), although the 50Mbps service shouldn’t really qualify as “ultrafast” at all (most consider this as a definition that starts at 100Mbps+)
 >Sky Ultra Fibre Optic
 * 50Mbps “Guaranteed Speeds”
  * Totally unlimited usage
  * Included router (£6.95 delivery charge)
PRICE: £10 per month + £16.40 per month line rental
Sky Ultra Fibre Optic Plus
 * As above, but with..
  * 100Mbps
PRICE: £20 per month + £16.40 per month line rental
Sky Ultra Fibre Optic Pro
 * As above, but with..
  * ‘up to’ 940Mbps
PRICE: £30 per month + £16.40 per month line rental Broadly speaking the prices are comparable to Sky’s existing package line-up via standard ADSL2+ and FTTC broadband technologies, but other than a difference with the promoted speeds there are a few other things that stand out with these options.
Firstly, the two initial packages are both promoted as simply 50Mbps or 100Mbps (suggesting symmetric performance), but the Pro option takes a different approach by promoting “download speeds of up to 940Mb” (are uploads going to be lower? Sky may have concerns about their capacity supply and costs).
Secondly, the use of “Guaranteed Speeds” only appears on the first two packages. Sky thus appear to be taking a more cautious approach to the headline grabbing 940Mbps package, which is probably wise.
Speaking of which that “Guaranteed speed is to the router“, which is Sky’s way of saying that you’re unlikely to get the full speed if the router’s WiFi or LAN ports can’t keep pace. We hope Sky plan to ship UFO with something better than the SkyHub SR102 as that router is clearly not up to the job of tackling 940Mbps and doesn’t even have 5GHz WiFi.
Another unusual move is Sky’s decision to continue charging a mandatory fee of £16.40 per month for Sky Line Rental, with no mention of whether this includes a phone (voice) service like the vanilla copper line product. FTTH connections have no need for a separate line rental charge (similar ISPs usually charge a single rental), unless Sky are trying to maintain a common package structure or selling the service as a separate copper line alongside the fibre.
We are querying with Sky and will update later.
UPDATE 1:08pm
Sky has kindly helped to clarify some of our earlier points. Firstly, customers will be provided with a completely new model of router that supports both Gigabit LAN ports and dual frequency WiFi (2.4GHz and 5GHz).
Secondly, the 940Mbps package uses an “up to” speed because Sky correctly suggests that at 940Mbps it would be difficult to “guarantee” such performance, although the package itself will still be unconstrained (i.e. no Traffic Management). In addition, upload speeds for their services will be announced when the packages go on sale later this year.
Finally, on the subject of line rental, Sky confirms that the packages will be accompanied by a “great telephony service on our all fibre network with our broadband service“. Sky added that their line rental charge does not relate to the technology, but rather the service offered. In our interpretation this probably reflects a phone service being delivered over the top (VoIP) of their fibre optic cable. But we should get more detail in the coming weeks or months.


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Reply #1

Sounds epic.

I have Sky Fibre Pro which gives me nearly 80Mb/s down and 18/19Mb/s up. To be honest, when it takes about 5 minutes to download a 4.5GB film, we're still blown away by the speed. I'm not sure at this point that getting that film in 40 seconds (doesn't quite work like that, still takes time to connect to peers) I'm not sure it matters, but I certainly wouldn't say no to near Gigabit speeds.

I've not even checked what I can get at the new house! If I can even get fibre at all!  :O
towards the running costs of ReefBase


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