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Yet more about broadband

June 13, 2022

As you may have seen from my recently updated post about Full Fibre broadband, I’ve terminated the Full Fibre contract and dropped back to my 80Mb/s Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) ADSL. This has been provided by Sky Broadband for many years – in fact I’ve been a Sky customer since they acquired UK Online to deliver their broadband service.

However it’s got very expensive. My contract expired in May 2022, and Sky emailed me to say that I would now be charged £38 a month! I called them to see what, if anything, they could do. The best they could do was a £5 discount to £33 a month. Disappointing.

So I hunted around. By far the cheapest was Vodafone, which, with a discount because I have a Vodafone mobile contract, offered 80Mb/s FTTC for £21 a month. Attractive but I passed on this for two reasons. First is that Vodafone wouldn’t let me keep my existing landline number, and the second is that I was unable to speak to anyone about this. I tried calling their customer service number, but all I got was a recorded message telling me they couldn’t answer my call and to use web chat on their website.

But Vodafone’s webchat wasn’t working – I just got a message telling me to phone customer service. So Vodafone was binned.

Next was NOW Broadband. NOW Broadband is part of NOW TV, as subsidiary of Sky which offers television services in the UK over the internet using a WiFi smart stick (or, if you still have one, a set-top box). They offered 80Mb/s FTTC ADSL for £23 a month including a year’s free landline calls. And I could retain my landline number. I signed up online, paid the £5 delivery fee for the NOW Broadband router, and picked a switch-over date.

As it happened, we were away on the switch-over date, so I delayed the router delivery until we were back. I was expecting no internet on our return, but much to my surprise it was all working. When I opened the box containing the NOW Broadband router I realised why… the NOW Broadband router was identical to my existing Sky Broadband router in every respect except for the moulded logo on the case. I’ve left the NOW router in the box.

On examining my router logs it’s clear that the Sky service disconnected about 4am on switch-over day, and NOW Broadband reconnected, using the same router, about 20 minutes later. Given that NOW is a subsidiary of Sky, what I’ve managed to do is to connect to the same network, using the same equipment, at the same speed, for £15 a month less than I was paying Sky.

Result!

Footnote:

I had a little glitch as the landline wasn’t showing Caller ID, which it should. I called NOW Broadband and spoke to a very pleasant lady who reset the line, which fixed the problem. I mentioned that I was still using the Sky router. She encouraged me to do so for as long as possible. She explained that although they look the same, the Sky version of the router uses better components which makes it more reliable, and that I should just keep the NOW router as a backup, just in case!

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