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Sky vs Virgin Media broadband: which is better?

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.

Last updated: 22 November 2020

Sky vs Virgin Media broadband: which is better?
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 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 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 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 line rental: Which is better?

Line rental is the cost of maintaining the wire that brings landline, broadband, and some TV services into your home. Due to the fact that Virgin Media runs off its own fibre network, you don’t actually need line rental to use their service. Sky, on the other hand, runs off the BT Openreach network, and therefore factors in the cost of line rental into each of their broadband, TV and phone packages.

If you do choose to go for line rental, then there really isn’t much difference in price between the two providers. Take a look here:

Line Rental Only

Sky: £18.99 (it’s worth noting that this basic package doesn’t include any free talk time)

Virgin: £19

Inclusive Evening and Weekend Calls

Sky: £25

Virgin: £24


Inclusive Anytime Calls

Sky: £30

Virgin: £27


Inclusive International Calls

Sky: £32

Virgin £34

Sky vs Virgin 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.

Here’s our two favourite bundles currently on offer. Check out the links to find out more about what is included in the bundles.

Virgin Media Big Bundle -- £28.99 per month

Sky Superfast Broadband + Sky TV -- £39 per month

Sky vs Virgin customer service: Which is better?

Again, the two services are pretty much tied here. 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: 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’).

Use our postcode checker to see what kind of coverage you can expect in your area and compare broadband deals. Look for Virgin Media broadband deals using our tool, and Sky broadband deals.

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.

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