Sky Broadband ups top speed of Max tier

Friday, June 19 2009, 06:00 BST

By James Welsh

Sky is to increase the headline top speed of its "Max" broadband service from 16Mbps to 20Mbps starting next week.

The move is part of a package of changes to Sky's three-tier broadband service offered in areas covered by its local loop unbundled equipment. None of the changes affect pricing.

Sky Broadband Base will continue to be offered free of charge with Sky Talk, providing downstream speeds of up to 2Mbps and upload speeds of 400Kbps. The usage cap will remain at 2GB, but new customers will receive 3 months free security subscription instead of 12.

Sky Broadband Mid will become Sky Broadband Everyday. It will continue to be offered for £5 on top of Sky Talk, but downstream speeds will now go up to 10Mbps instead of 8, and upstream speeds will go up to 600Kbps instead of 400. The usage cap will be reduced from 40GB to 10GB, a change that Sky said was "in line with what the vast majority of our customers actually use". The usage cap change will be made immediately for new customers, and from August 1 for existing ones. The security package will be available free of charge to new customers for three months.

Sky Broadband Max will become Sky Broadband Unlimited, still priced at £10 on top of Sky Talk. The top headline downstream speed offered on the package will increase from 16Mbps to up to 20Mbps, with upstream speeds boosted from up to 768Kbps to up to 1.3Mbps. There will continue to be no usage limit and the security package will be available for 12 months free of charge.

Sky said the increase in downstream and upstream speeds have been made possible by investment in line stabilisation technology.

"Our line stabilisation technology allows us to constantly look for faults and to check the line settings for customers on our Sky Broadband network," the company said. "Following initial trials of line stabilisation with new Sky Broadband customers, we have seen significant improvements to the stability of customer connections and we want to extend these benefits to [existing customers].

"If you’re an on-net customer, then by using this technology, we can improve the reliability of your connection and we can also increase the speeds available for many of our customers as well."

The new speeds will be available immediately to new customers from Monday, June 22. Groups of existing customers will have their connections put through the line stabilisation process in a rolling process starting on Monday; it is anticipated that all existing lines will have been through the process by September.

All existing customers will be emailed three days before their line is put through line stabilisation. Customers may log on to My Sky and check the information under Broadband Service Details for information on the current status of testing on their line; after line stabilisation testing has been completed, the maximum downstream and upstream speeds set on the line will be displayed.