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Glossary of broadband speed terms

There are different types of speeds for broadband and different ways of measuring each type. Below is a guide to each term:

Access Line Download Speed

The download speed of your broadband connection is the speed at which data is transferred from the internet to you. Faster download speeds mean you can download files like music tracks, photos or video clips faster. The download speed will also affect the quality of watching streamed videos online. Faster download speeds should make the video less likely to pause while you are watching it.

Access Line Upload Speed

The upload speed of your broadband connection is the speed that data is transferred from you to the internet. A faster upload speed should improve your overall internet experience, as your actions (even clicking on a link while surfing a web page) are communicated out to the internet quicker.

Faster upload speeds can also make it quicker to send emails with photos or other large files attached, upload photos and video clips to your page on a social networking site, give you quicker reactions when online gaming and enhance the quality of video conferencing and phone calls you make over the internet.

Throughput Speed

The Throughput Speed is the speed that you experience when using your broadband connection. Your Throughput Speed will be lower than your Access Line speed as your Throughput Speed is affected by your home setup, for example how many other equipment present in your home are sharing your broadband connection at the same time, the number of other broadband users that are simultaneously online and even how many users are trying to access a website at the same time.

Maximum product headline speeds

These are the advertised maximum speeds offered with your Sky Broadband product, and refer to the fastest download and upload speeds that the Sky Broadband connection could achieve between a router and the Sky Broadband equipment in the telephone exchange in ideal circumstances.

Please bear in mind that the speed you will actually experience when using the internet can be anything up to the maximum speeds offered by your Sky Broadband product, and are affected by many factors with the most important being the line length from the exchange and quality of your phone line.

Your Estimated Access Line Speed

When you are selecting a Sky Broadband product to order, we will provide you with an estimate of the fastest download speed that your phone line can support. This is an estimate based on information including the length and quality of your phone line, and refers to the download speed that we believe a Sky Broadband connection could achieve between your router and the broadband equipment in the local telephone exchange.

Actual speeds

The actual download and upload speeds that you experience when using the internet will be slower than the Access Line Speed for your line. This is because of various factors, including:

  • If you are using a wireless connection between your computer and the router - wireless connections can be affected by interference from thick walls in your home, other electrical items such as baby monitors or cordless phones, and local congestion if there are a number of wireless connections using the same wireless channels (frequency) in your neighbourhood.

  • The number of people that are using the same website as you at the same time, and at peak times (weekday evenings and weekends) as well as the number of people using the internet in the UK and worldwide at the same time, can cause speeds can vary throughout the day.

Sky Broadband Connect customers only

You may experience slower speeds during peak times (from 5pm to 12am each day) for certain applications that use up a lot of bandwidth and are not time critical, such as peer-to-peer and newsgroups. This is as a result of Sky's Traffic Management, which is applied to the Connect network so that we are able to provide a sustainable quality broadband service to our Connect customers.

There is also an Excessive Use Policy that applies to Connect customers during peak times. If you are in the top 2% of Connect customers using an excessive amount of bandwidth and impacting other customers' experience on the Connect product we may apply more severe restrictions to your speeds for all applications during peak times. For more details see the Usage Policies section of the Sky Broadband Terms and Conditions.

Speed & Connection Testing

Please leave your Sky Hub turned on for the first ten days so we can test different broadband speeds and settings on your line. Your starting speed will be the best speed your line can support based on factors such as the condition of your line. During these first ten days you may notice some variations in speed and your connection may be intermittent at times: this is normal.

Everyday Lite and Unlimited customers only

Sign in to the My Sky broadband page and check the Broadband Service Details section for the current status of testing on your line, and the maximum download and upload speeds your Sky Broadband connection has been set to after testing.

Sky subscribes to Ofcom's Voluntary Code of Practice on broadband speeds.