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Sky vs Virgin Media broadband: Which is better?

Last updated: 04 March 2021

You will probably have come across adverts for Sky and Virgin Media broadband deals, since they’re the top players in the Internet Service Provider (ISP) game, both providing some of the highest speeds available. Let’s take a look to see who wins in the battle for the country’s best broadband…

Sky Broadband vs Virgin Media Broadband: Which is better?

Virgin Media runs circles around Sky Broadband in terms of its broadband speeds. Virgin use their own network of fibre cables to provide the fastest speeds available from any mainstream broadband provider; up to 516Megabits per second (Mbps) on its M500 deal. According to their research, this package is available to a whopping 44% of UK properties at the moment and will increase to 53% in the next few years. By March 2021, they hope to provide these homes with speeds of up to 600 Mbps.

Sky, like TalkTalk, BT and Plusnet, use the nationwide Openreach network to provide properties with broadband connection. Unlike Virgin, Sky also offer standard copper wire ADSL connection as well as superfast fibre optic internet. While that might be slower, it’s more accessible if you’re working on a budget.

Both providers do not monitor internet traffic usage, meaning there is no limit on the amount of internet you can use per month. That’s right – unlimited usage! With Virgin Media you don’t need to pay for a phone line connection like you do with Sky, however this doesn’t always mean it will be cheaper in the long run. Virgin tends to hook you in with a sweet-sounding deal, and then ramp up the prices later. Overall, you will need to decide which broadband provider is best for your needs and priorities.

Sky TV vs Virgin Media TV: Which is better?

Sure, Virgin Media rules the roost when it comes to internet, but Sky is undoubtedly the master of all things Pay TV. Sky’s most basic TV package comes with 300+ channels, including Sky Atlantic; the home of shows like Chernobyl, Big Little Lies and Westworld. At an extra cost, you can get amazing extras such as Sky Movies, Sky Sports and Sky Arts – you need never leave the house again!

When you sign up to any Sky TV package, you automatically get the new Sky Q 1TB (terabyte) box, which allows you to pause and rewind live TV, access on demand content and record several channels whilst watching another. If you pay a little more, you can get the 2TB version, that can store twice the amount of on-demand and recorded material; a whopping 1000 hours of SD TV.

All that is not to say that Virgin Media TV isn’t good. While they don’t have their own channels, you can still access some of the best of Sky has to offer, such as Sky Sports and Sky Cinema, as well as a number of other on demand services like BBC iPlayer and 4oD. Virgin’s basic package, Big Bundle, only offers 110 channels, but their standard set top box, the V6, functions in much the same way as the Sky Q box, also with a 1TB storage capacity.

Sky vs Virgin Media bundle deals: Which is better?

Here it’s pretty much a tie. Both Virgin Media and Sky offer comparable bundle services when taking into account speed, reliability, value for money, user experience and channel availability.

Sky vs Virgin Media customer service: Which is better?

Again, the two providers are pretty much tied when it comes to customer service. According to a report from industry monitor Ofcom in 2019, overall satisfaction from Virgin Media users is at 85%, and Sky is at 83%.

Strangely, this same report stated that Sky received 20 complaints per 100,000 customers, and Virgin received 51 per 100,000; and average waiting time on customer service lines with Sky was 1min 24s, and 2min 19s for Virgin Media.

Sky vs Virgin Media: Which company is more widely available?

The clear winner here is Sky, purely down to the fact that it runs on the BT Openreach network, which is accessible to 99% of mainland UK properties. The estimated reach of Virgin Media’s own network is around 75%, and mainly in urban areas (according to ‘broadband choices’).

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Danny Lord

Author: Danny Lord

Danny is our Editor-in-Chief, and has been writing news and guides for comparison sites for the last five years.