NOW is a cheaper alternative to Sky, with fibre broadband from £21/month. You can add Sky TV channels like Sky Atlantic, Sky Witness, Sky Sports & more.

If you’re looking for a lower-cost alternative to Sky, NOW is a good option with their flexible broadband and TV plans. The low-cost sub-brand of Sky is currently offering fibre broadband from only £21 per month. This compares to the £25 per month you’d pay for an equivalent service on Sky.

On NOW, you’ll also be able to add Sky TV channels to your plan such as Sky Atlantic, Sky Witness, Sky Cinema, Sky Sports and more. These are available with no need for a satellite dish: you’ll just need a compatible device (such as smart TV, console or laptop) to watch the channels.

In this article, we’ll compare Sky and NOW. We’ll look at the differences between the two providers, including for broadband and TV plans. We’ll also look at how you can switch between Sky and NOW, both for your home broadband and TV service.

Sky VS NOW Compared

In the UK, NOW is a low-cost sub-brand of Sky. Originally founded in 2012, it offers broadband and TV plans on a flexible basis with no need for a contract and no need for a satellite dish. Many people choose NOW instead of Sky to save money if they don’t need the full functionality offered by Sky.

The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of Sky and NOW at a glance:

Sky NOW
Sky Broadband VS NOW Broadband
Monthly Price (36Mb): £25 per month £21 per month
Monthly Price (59/63Mb): £26 per month £21 per month
Contract Length: 18 months 12 months
1 month (+£60 upfront)
Download Speed (average): Up to 900Mbps Up to 63Mbps
Availability: 96% of UK homes
Check availability
90% of UK homes
Check availability
Sky TV vs NOW TV
Plans from: £26 per month
(Sky TV with Netflix and Superfast 35 Broadband)
£26.99 per month
(Fab Fibre + Entertainment)
Channels: 300+ channels Plan dependent
Hardware: Sky Q
Sky Glass
None provided (use your own)
Reception Method: Satellite (Sky Q)
Broadband (Sky Glass)
Broadband
Picture Quality: Up to 4K Ultra HD Up to 1080p Full HD
Streaming: Sky Go app NOW app
TV Channels
Sky Atlantic &
Entertainment Channels:
Yes With NOW Entertainment membership
Sky Cinema: With Sky Cinema add-on With NOW Cinema membership
Sky Sports: With Sky Sports add-on With NOW Sports membership
Netflix: Yes, with Ultimate TV plans No
More Information: Sky Website NOW Website

Through the rest of this article, we’ll compare the two services in more depth. We’ll start by comparing Sky Broadband to NOW Broadband. We’ll then look at how Sky TV compares to NOW TV.

Sky Broadband VS NOW Broadband

If you’re just looking for regular fibre broadband, you’ll get a pretty similar service whether you choose Sky or NOW. In fact, NOW’s broadband service is actually powered by Sky and it makes use of the same underlying network and infrastructure.

Perhaps the biggest reason to switch your broadband from Sky to NOW is the ability to get your broadband service for less.

Sky VS NOW Fibre Broadband

For fibre broadband with an average download speed of 36Mbps, you’ll currently pay £21 per month for NOW’s Fab Fibre service. This compares to the £25 per month charged by Sky for the same speeds on the Superfast 35 service:

ServiceBroadbandTelevisionMonthly Price
NOW Broadband
Fab Fibre

36Mbps
average download

No TV
£21/month
for 12 months
plus £5 upfront
Sky Broadband
Sky Superfast 35

36Mbps
average download

No TV
£25/month
for 18 months

Similarly, for an average download speed of 63Mbps, you’ll currently pay £21 per month for NOW’s Super Fibre plan. This compares to £26 per month for the equivalent plan on Sky with an average download speed of 59Mbps:

ServiceBroadbandTelevisionMonthly Price
NOW Broadband
Super Fibre

63Mbps
average download

No TV
£21/month
for 12 months
plus £5 upfront
Sky Broadband
Sky Superfast

59Mbps
average download

No TV
£26/month
for 18 months

On NOW, you’ll also benefit from a shorter 12-month contract. This compares to the 18-month contract for customers signing up to Sky Broadband.

If you’d like to make calls on your landline, you’ll also save when choosing a landline from NOW. For instance, NOW charges £8 per month for anytime phone calls. This compares to £12 per month for anytime phone calls on Sky.

Full Fibre Broadband

One advantage of choosing Sky is their ability to offer full fibre (FTTP) plans. In around 25% of UK homes, you may be able to get Ultrafast Broadband or Gigafast Broadband from Sky. This can give you an average download speeds of up to 900Mbps (this is 14 times quicker than NOW’s fastest plan).

ServiceBroadbandTelevisionMonthly Price
Sky Broadband
Sky Ultrafast

145Mbps
average download

No TV
£32/month
for 18 months
Sky Broadband
Sky Ultrafast Plus

500Mbps
average download

No TV
£42/month
for 18 months
Sky Broadband
Sky Gigafast

900Mbps
average download

No TV
£55/month
for 18 months

To see whether full fibre broadband is available where you live, enter your postcode on Sky’s website.

Unfortunately, full fibre (FTTP) plans are not currently available to customers on NOW Broadband. In fact, you won’t be able to get a NOW Broadband service if you only have access to a FTTP connection at your address.

Sky Hub vs NOW Broadband Hub

One other difference between the two services is the fact that Sky Broadband customers get a slightly newer router. NOW Broadband customers make do with a slightly older router.

Both the Sky Hub router (SR203) and the NOW Broadband Hub Two (ER115) offer dual-band Wi-Fi 5 technology. The difference is that Sky’s router has 8 built-in wi-fi antenna, whereas NOW’s router only has 5 wi-fi antenna. This means you should be able to get better wi-fi performance and faster speeds using the router from Sky.

For everyday usage like browsing the web and shopping online, you’re probably unlikely to notice a difference between the two. However, if you’re in a large or busy household with lots of connected devices, the Sky Hub router may give you better wi-fi coverage and speeds.

Sky’s router also has 4 Gigabit Ethernet sockets for connecting wired devices to your home network. This compares to the 2 Gigabit Ethernet sockets on the NOW Broadband Hub Two.

Sky TV vs NOW TV Channels

Both Sky and NOW also offer a television service. Most people will take TV together with home broadband, but it’s also possible to get it on a standalone basis (if so, you’ll just need to get your broadband from another provider).

We’ll start with the one thing that’s similar across the two services: both Sky and NOW can give access to Sky’s premium TV channels. They include Sky Atlantic, Sky Witness, Sky Max, Sky Cinema and Sky Sports. However, the way you get them and what else is included differs across the two.

With Sky, you’re getting a fully-featured television experience. You’ll either get a set-top box (Sky Q) or a television (Sky Glass) through which you’re able to watch all of your television channels and other content. As part of that, you’ll get things like the ability to record live television (or the ability to create playlists on Sky Glass). You’ll also get a voice-operated remote control and the ability to use apps on your device. All of your channels will be delivered by Sky (including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Discovery, etc). You’ll often also get a Netflix subscription included in the price, though this can depend on the plan you choose.

With NOW, you’re getting a pared-back service that just gives you the paid-for channels from Sky. You’ll need to provide your own compatible hardware through which to watch the channels (such as a smart TV, games console, tablet or laptop with the NOW app). You’ll need another way to receive your other television channels (e.g. you might get channels like BBC and ITV through your television aerial instead).

It used to be the case that you could only get Sky TV with a dish, and NOW using a broadband connection. However, the release of Sky Glass and the Sky Stream Puck means you’re now able to get Sky through your broadband connection.

Entertainment

If you want access to Sky’s entertainment channels (such as Sky Atlantic, Sky Showcase, Sky Max and Sky Witness), you have the following two options:

The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of the plans:

ServiceBroadbandTelevisionMonthly Price
NOW Broadband
Fab Fibre + Entertainment

36Mbps
average download
Sky ShowcaseSky Atlantic
Entertainment

19 channels included
£26.99/month
for 12 months
plus £5 upfront
NOW Broadband
Super Fibre + Entertainment

63Mbps
average download
Sky ShowcaseSky Atlantic
Entertainment

19 channels included
£26.99/month
for 12 months
plus £5 upfront
Sky Broadband
Sky TV with Superfast 35 Broadband

36Mbps
average download
Sky ShowcaseSky Atlantic
Sky TV

300+ channels included
£39/month
for 18 months
plus £29.95 upfront
Sky Broadband
Sky TV with Superfast Broadband

59Mbps
average download
Sky ShowcaseSky Atlantic
Sky TV

300+ channels included
£42/month
for 18 months
plus £29.95 upfront

On Sky, it’s possible to choose a television plan that comes with access to Netflix (worth £6.99 per month). If you’re a Netflix subscriber, it may sometimes work out to be cheaper choosing a plan from Sky with Netflix included in the price.

ServiceBroadbandTelevisionMonthly Price
Sky Broadband
Sky TV with Netflix and Superfast 35 Broadband

36Mbps
average download
Sky ShowcaseSky AtlanticNetflix
Sky TV with Netflix

300+ channels included
£26/month
for 18 months
plus £29.95 upfront
Sky Broadband
Sky TV with Netflix and Superfast Broadband

59Mbps
average download
Sky ShowcaseSky AtlanticNetflix
Sky TV with Netflix

300+ channels included
£26/month
for 18 months
plus £29.95 upfront

For more information, see our Sky Signature and NOW TV reviews.

Sky Sports

If you want access to Sky Sports, you’ll have the following options:

  • You can get Sky TV with Sky Sports from £62 per month. This includes all of Sky’s entertainment channels, along with the Sky Sports channels in HD quality as standard. You’ll also get Sky’s Superfast Broadband included within the price.
  • You can get NOW Fab Fibre + Sky Sports for £46 per month. This gives you fibre broadband with an average download speed of 36Mbps, along with access to the Sky Sports channels. You’ll need to provide your own compatible device through to watch the Sky Sports channels. Sky’s entertainment channels are not included in the price but you can add them separately if required.

The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of the two:

ServiceBroadbandTelevisionMonthly Price
NOW Broadband
Fab Fibre + Sky Sports

36Mbps
average download
Sky Sports
Sky Sports

11 channels included
£46/month
for 12 months
plus £5 upfront
NOW Broadband
Super Fibre + Sky Sports

63Mbps
average download
Sky Sports
Sky Sports

11 channels included
£46/month
for 12 months
plus £5 upfront
Sky Broadband
Sky TV with Sky Sports & Superfast Broadband

59Mbps
average download
Sky ShowcaseSky AtlanticSky Sports
Sky TV with Sky Sports

300+ channels included
£62/month
for 18 months
plus £29.95 upfront
Sky Broadband
Sky TV with Sky Sports, BT Sport & Superfast Broadband

59Mbps
average download
Sky ShowcaseSky AtlanticSky SportsBT Sport
Sky TV with Sky Sports & BT Sport

300+ channels included
£87/month
for 18 months
plus £29.95 upfront

On Sky, you’ll also be able to add the BT Sport channels to your plan. The BT Sport channels are not available on NOW but you can get them another way (e.g. by subscribing to the BT Sport Monthly Pass).

Switching Between Sky & NOW

It’s a straightforward process switching your broadband service between Sky and NOW. Simply order your new Sky Broadband service or your new NOW Broadband service. When you do this, the transfer will be arranged automatically for you.

If you’re a Sky TV customer switching to NOW TV, you’ll need to arrange to cancel your Sky TV service. This involves giving 31 days notice for cancelling Sky. There might also be an early exit fee if you’re still within your initial 18 month contract.

If you’re a NOW TV customer switching to Sky TV, you can cancel your NOW membership online. As your NOW television membership works on a one-month rolling basis, you’ll have access until the end of your current monthly billing period.

For more information, you can see our in-depth guide to switching between Sky and NOW.

More Information

For more information, you can read our Sky Broadband review, Sky TV review and NOW Broadband review. Alternatively, there’s more information available on the Sky and NOW websites.

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