Broadband speeds explained

When we talk about broadband speeds, there are a few different types:

Access line speed is the speed between your local telephone exchange or street cabinet and your Sky hub.

Throughput speed is the speed you get when using the internet for things like browsing, streaming videos, uploading images or using apps. There are two types:

  • The speed to your Sky hub when using the internet. This is the one used in Ofcom's Voluntary Code of Practice and the one we guarantee when you chose your broadband package.
  • The speed you get to a WiFi connected device when using the internet.

To better understand what these speeds mean, watch this video:

To make sure you’re always given the best, most accurate information about broadband speeds, we subscribe to Ofcom's Better Broadband Speeds, Voluntary Code of Practice.

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What can affect my speed?

The speed to your hub can depend on how far you live from the exchange and how far you live from the street cabinet (unless you have an Optical Network Terminal instead of a normal socket). If there’s a fault or problem with your line, it can also affect the speed to your hub.

The speed to your devices around your home will naturally be lower than the speed to your hub. It can be affected by:

  • Your phone, tablet, laptop or any other device. Some devices can handle higher speeds than others – check your devices maximum download speeds.
  • The number of apps or web pages that are being used. This include ones being used in the background.
  • The layout and construction of your home.
  • The number of devices that are connected to your WiFi and what you’re using them for.
  • The set-up of your hub and other equipment in your home. Boosters and WiFi extenders can improve the WiFi coverage across your home but can reduce the speed to your device if connected through these.

The latest home technology, such as smart TVs, Sky Q, lighting and sound systems and app-controlled thermostats, can also use up your bandwidth, so you need to make sure your internet speed can handle all these devices. Check each of your device's minimum requirements and think upgrading your package if you have too many devices on your network.

Try these tips to Improve the WiFi signal to your devices. Or watch this short video:

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Downloading at different speeds

Here are the minimum download speeds you’ll need to your device for popular online activities:

  • Streaming in Standard Definition (SD) – 1.5Mb/s
  • Streaming in High Definition (HD) – 5Mb/s
  • Streaming in Ultra High Definition (UHD) – 30Mb/s
  • Real Time Online Gaming – 1Mb/s
  • Video Calling – 1Mb/s

Good to know: These recommendations can vary by provider – check these with your provider directly.

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What is my broadband speed?

Sign into My Broadband using your Sky iD, to check the speed to your hub. You’ll also find the speed we guaranteed you when you chose your broadband package.

As part of our commitment to Ofcom's Better Broadband Speeds, Voluntary Code of Practice, you might be entitled to cancel your contract if your actual speed falls below the one we told you when you joined. Go to Sky and Ofcom's Voluntary Code of Practice for more information.

Not getting the speed you expected?

Sign into My Broadband to check the speed to your hub. We'll run tests on your connection and setup make sure your broadband’s working as it should be. And if it not, we’ll show you how to fix it or ask you to get in touch.

Or if it’s the speed to your devices you have a problem with, try the simple steps to try at home in our No connection or slow WiFi help.