Sky Broadband is robbing customers?

Needing to patch my finances, I signed up for a job in a Belfast call centre to provide technical support for those poor Sky customers who had bought their broadband Internet package, in the belied that they would be getting a 16MB broadband speed through their BT line from Sky.


Having built networks and web sites since 1989, I believed that my knowledge would come to good use and be appreciated. Little did I know about the realities of the let-them-moan services that these call centre are contracted to provide! To add insult to injury, after 10 weeks of answering futile calls that I was not allowed to do anything about, I was brutally dismissed for failing to lie to callers. 

After I ended my shift on Monday, 2nd of April I got a letter next day that I haven’t been working since 28th of March and if not providing the doctors letter by today, they consider my employment voluntarily ended? That’s a lie, because last time I talked with my Team Leader was Friday 30th of March.

During my time there, I encountered many absurd situations. Here’s a small collection of them:

Customers must always call a premium line number, and then listen to queue music around an hour before getting to talk with someone. Calls are answered by inexperienced staff, working on minimum salary. Having received one week of computer and network training – most of which was incompetently done and wildly inaccurate – they were expected to be networking experts?

  • Getting connected is a problem for many customers. Some have been waiting since September-October 2006 – and charged for the service? In many cases, an engineer had made a mistake in connecting the cable and marked the work order as completed. Only, there was no procedure for issuing a new work order to fix it!
  • One customer had a faulty BT line, and had himself ordered a new line from BT as recommended by Sky representatives. He wanted to have Sky engineers to reconnect the new line to the broadband service, as BT is not allowed to do this – but this was not authorized, as there is no procedure in place for it. Once connected, customers can’t be reconnected.
  • The MAC codes issued by Sky won’t be valid anyway. There was no procedure to issue MAC codes as Sky had only department to deal with incoming MAC codes as the outgoing MAC codes department was not yet established.

Some of the Sky engineers are useless. Once an engineer called our premium line number – from the customer’s phone! – Having trouble installing the Sky-provided wireless adapter. We did not have any training or documentation on this, but based on my experience I spent over an hour on the phone trying to help him. Finally, I tried to transfer him to the manufacturer’s (NetGear) technical support in India – but the Indian guy there told me that Sky have ordered special adapters which are incompatible with their standard product line, and they are not able to help with these. So, if even Sky engineers are not able to get those products to work or get support, how can anyone?

  • Another customer had booked a visit from a Sky engineer, paying £65 for it. The engineer connected the cables, but could not get the Internet working – and left. He promised to get back within a week but was never heard from. After a few months of waiting, and paying for a service that he was not getting, the customer wanted to reschedule the engineer. But the system only allowed us to book him a new visit, costing another £65. Hopefully the next guy will be more competent… surely there must be SOME competent engineers working for Sky?

Misinformation and silly if not illegal practices are rife:


  • After installation using Sky installation disk, you are asked to log in to sky’s customer pages “before you can browse the net”. This is of course absurd – you do not need to log in anywhere to use the net, this is only needed to use the Sky customer pages.
  • However, if you want to use the sky-provided email mailbox, then you need to get a login. For this, you are asked a lot of personal details – which Sky shouldn’t be asking as they have no need for them! So customers who don’t want to enter their confidential information, have to call the premium-rate helpline number again to be told that “you must give all your personal details to have any internet access – this is Sky’s rules”!  
  • OK, you gave your date of birth and shoe size to register? Don’t expect to be able to login to the Sky email. The next joke is that the Sky disk comes with McAfee internet protection software – with settings at maximum protection. It very wisely stops any access to the Sky page that has been set as the Internet Explorer start page – not to mention other helpful pages such as the Sky NetGear router instructions. OK, bell the premium help line – our instructions were to tell customers to switch off the McAfee security before they access the internet!!
  • I have had callers crying in frustration when they realize they are not getting anywhere near the promised line speed. If you don’t read the small print, you may think from the advertisements that you will be getting 8MB, or even 16MB broadband. But as with all broadband providers – who have already learned to be much more truthful and direct in their advertising – actual line speeds depend on the distance from the local BT exchange as well as on the technology installed there. Most customers only get between 0.7 and 2Mbps when checked using BT’s DSL availability test. Even if the BT local exchange supports the “up to 8Mbs” service this will end up being much less in practice, due to lack of capacity between Sky’s network and the rest of the internet. Is Sky trying to save money instead of purchasing more capacity as the number of users grows?

I was in “Tier1” and only expected to record the problem and issue a “ticket” to Tier2 or Tier3 for resolution – but instructed not to try fixing the problem. I felt sorry for many customers that really were in a hurry – people crying in frustration, children not being able to do essential homework needing the internet. What could I do besides issuing a ticket to Tier3 who SHOULD investigate the customer problem within five working days?  

  • For most problems, our instructions were to order a new router sent to the customer – so we did. The customer probably waited for the next month or two for this to arrive, paying for the service all the time – just to find out a new router did not fix the problem anyway. Often I knew that the problem was not in the router, but had to send it anyway and lie to the customer, as that was what we were strictly instructed to do.
  • Of course, the Quality Assurance team was unaware of the problems, as they never saw what the actual faults were – they just saw what actions we recorded, from the instructions. That we had followed the regulations and asked the customer “Do you have electricity?”, “Is your phone working?” and then consider the fact “And your Sky Broadband does not work?” 

Thus, everything was fine in Skyland – according to the computer, there were no unhappy customers. If there were, this was quickly dealt with by the “Tier3” actual Sky engineers. I read to a customer on the phone what one of them had had the decency to write to the system: “Closing this ticket on my Team Leaders request, as no ticket cannot be open over two weeks”. More usually, there was just a lie: “Called the customer, they are happy now” – and the customer on the phone with me goes “WHAT???… WHEN???”. After waiting a month for the problem to be solved, it was back to the end of the queue.

As I mentioned earlier, I was one of the pioneering users and developers of the Internet and its applications. I feel as if part of my life’s work has been destroyed by these cynical businesses that are trying to maximise profits without giving back a decent service to the community of users – which is exactly the opposite to the ideals that the internet is based on!

17 thoughts on “Sky Broadband is robbing customers?

  1. Hey i found your psot very interesting and I my self have got sky broadband…after having it from lanch day i still cant access 10-15% of sites I normaly visit…when I call up the call centre im left with a daft moron who does not understand my problem.

    This is what I get “Sorry sir you need to contact the admin to contact us to sort it out” now why would the admin want to contact sky a prem number but most importantly the admin of the site has probly bought the web space from some company which again they wont care.

    Im also having problems with playing online, voice chat and even downloading 🙁

    But the last time I called I got the following “IT IS NOT OUR RESPONSIBLTY TO PROVIDE EVERY SINGLE WEBSITE!” (caps cause he was being a meanie) he goes on to say “It’s tuff luck nothing we can do about it.”

    Not accptable. what can i do 🙁

  2. Well today, I have a broadband connection with sky of just 384k down, and getting hold of sky is not easy.

  3. i was conected to sky broadband two months ago and still can not get to log in to my email to read after 15 phone call three pass words sent and 4 promises of the web team phoning me im still waiting im so angrey and frustrated with this the customer services are no help only to be told that they dont acually have any tecnical knolage or there so call engineers please can you advise me what to do i had no problem with virgin media i wish now i had stayed with them b sadler

  4. i have exactly the same problem as barbara,have been with sky for 3 months,and have had exactly the same service when contacting them.Can anybody access their e-mail via sky broadband.
    what a disgrace.

  5. I started working for Sky BB technical support in Belfast a few weeks ago, Its a bloody nightmare, I done 2 weeks of irrelevant training which basically has nothing to do with sky broadband,

    I was put into nesting a few days ago and what can i say, Apparently there are super users who are there to guide us along, I have to stand up every 5 seconds putting customers on hold while i try to find this so called Super User.

    I really feel for customers who phone shouting down the phone treatening to kill me since his exchange has been down for 3 months, Which is apparently not skys problem, And all i can say is “sorry sir but its out of our hands” what in gods green earth is he supposed to do,

    Ahh well i may go, Incase i get the sack

    If you get me on the phone some day(if im still there) Im sorry but ill more than likly not be able to help you, Ill probably have to place you on hold for a further 2 hours while i transfer you to Tier 3 to listen to the same bullshit as ya heard from me


  6. Veiko,
    Interesting post and have to say it finally prompted me into cancelling my Sky Broadband within my 8 day cooling off period. Had the line going live today and connected the Netgear DG834GT modem up and it connected all fine and dandy. However, within thirty minutes it dropped out and reset, now as my son has had Sky for about a month and his will only stay online for 20 mins I had a bad feeling I was going down the same road. During the day the modem reset about 8 or 9 times, the best download speed was 1856kbps when I was told at least 3500kbps. Forearmed with my son’s problems I phoned tech services and was told to change filters (already done) disconnect phone (done) finally open the BT box and connect to the circuit inside, this I was not prepared to do and I asked to have my agreement cancelled. It was accepted but I will email and also send a registered letter to make sure. I thought NTL(Virgin) were bad but I seemed to have jumped out of the frying pan into the fire… Thank God for the cooling off period!

  7. Man – Sky is a pain in the aR33. I have pulled my hair out a thousand times already. I generally get the moron on tech services who knows less than my 3 year old. Ok ok lets be fair… less than my 4 legged animal. I can never seem to get the line to work during the day when the phone rings and we answer it. Appears that the phone being active drops the IP. Its crazy and whats even more crazy is that finding another service provider will mean dealing with the SKY admin and another moronic helpdesk team……. Sky sucks!

  8. Personally im with virgin. their support is just as rubbish most of the time. but al least they garentee me the speed.
    anyway i was over a friends fixing their pc, they have sky.

    after fixing it at about 730 pm they said by the way afyter 8 pm i can never get onto a website. so i laughed and said ok ( they were old and non comp literate, ) but sure enough 8pm to the second the download stopped, website failed to load and well that was it..

    30 mins passed several router reboots and it finally came back on.

    subsequently i have spoken to several people in swansea area where the same thing happens at the same time.
    To me sounds like they are kicking off users at peak times to save on bandwidth… which would be a breach of contract by sky,.,..

  9. I’m sick of seeing people whining on forums about the speed of Sky Broadband. “I was promised 16MBp/s and it’s only blah de blah.” Aside from the fact that you’re not guarenteed full bandwidth for various (obvious) reasons, do you really need that much speed?

    Surely only a complete nerd would notice that they’re only getting speeds of 4 Mbps (as opposed to whatever) whilst surfing the internet for everyday use. I started off with NTL broadband at 2MBps and didn’t even notice when they upgraded my line free of charge to 4Mbps until I went on their website and saw the news about a month after they’d done it.

    Unless you spend time (probably illegally) downloading shedloads of films, music and filth
    from other people who coincidentally have extremely high bandwidth- how the heck are you going to notice? It still takes a split second to open a web page no matter if you have 4Mb or 4Tb broadband, and there isn’t much difference when streaming either.

    If you have to go to a geeky website or delve into your PC to check your speed and bandwidth then it obviously isn’t that bad. And it is people like you that are forcing others with REAL problems to wait for so long.

    Get over it.

  10. If you had actually read the article, you would realise that connection speed isn’t the issue, but I guess reading a whole article is to much for some people.


    I was having major issues with customer service from tiscali, and since I already have the full sky tv package I decided they were the logical choice for my broadband.
    Man what a mistake, their customer service is worse, and now I have an incredibly unstable connection on a second rate netgear router which looks like a childs toy compared to my old D-Link.

    Personally my little faith in the entire industry has been torn to shreds, I have no doubt sky and tiscali are actually providing a quality of service that is down right illegal, and I expect many other big name providers are exactly the same.

    What I will say to anyone having problems with sky is just give up, tell them where to stick it, and go with pipex. Not the cheapest but they seem like the only reliable isp around at the moment.

  11. Iv just spent 2 hours round a work mates house he has sky broadband and the light for broadband connection is not lit. I have used computers for over 20 years from the spectrum 128k :). I gave up dealing with customer services for any computer problem and solved most fo my problems my self over these 20 years.

    Anyway i went round and his comp and network is fine so the logical solution its a problem between the line and router 🙂 (power of elimination :)). Anyway he phoned up sky and i told him to get tuff with them and tell them that there is no adsl light. 5 customer services reps later a load of stupid solutions and was told they will get back to him in 48 hours which i dont think will happen. We even told them what to do we said why cant you contact BT and ask them to check the line etc which is pretty much first procedure surely lol bt are known to make mistakes:) this seemed to fall on death ears so be interesting to see what they come up with.

    I had another workmate who used Bt open broadband he had connection for a couple days then it dissapeared a few solutions and couple calls and they decided to send an engineer to the exchange who promtly fixed what ever was causing it why cant sky do this.

    I myself use Pipex broadband have done for 4 years. They have knowledgable staff on other end and know what there doing. iv had a few connection issues 2 were my end in the end (faulty filters bad line instalations.) each time though they offered to send an engineer out said if it turned out to be my end i would be charged 50 pounds which is fair enough but that i wouldnt need to pay this if it was fault there end cant say fairer than that.

    I know pipex have now been bought by tiscalli but to be honest iv signed up to a new 12 month contract with a higher speed and have had no problems at all and i am very impressed so for you guys looking for a isp that knows what it is doing visit there more expensive but i dont mind paying more for a better service and they have english call centers 🙂 hope this helps and now there part of tiscalli maybe they will show tiscalli how to do a proper job

  12. dont get me started with sky…..

    about a month ago we had a prob with the phone lines in our street, and obviously our broadband connection was afftected. after a week or so BT faxed the fault but the broadband remained dead, BT advised we speak to sky and here the problems began.

    first call i explained the prob – phone line recently fixed and now no adsl light on the router. their technical support peaked in its incompitence when i was asked is the router was plugged into the mains, after explaining previously that all the lights other than the adsl one were lit! we went through all the nonsense of changing micro filters and plugging into the test socket etc that clearly were not the problem from the outset.

    About a dozen phone calls on and numerous broken promises to call me back still no BB, but it now seems sky have identified the problem as being with BT at the exchange end HURRAH they have deduced the obvious fault after a mere 3 wks or so!!! wheather it will ever be fixed who knows….

    is there a complaints line, or perhaps an industry regulator i can complain to? the service really is rubbish and their tech support truly useless. As a reasonably techy minded person i can tell when im being bull*hitted and these guys seem to be trained in it.

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  14. hi, im 17. ive worked in most of the call centers in belfast and that includes working for UkOnline technical support and for SKY broadband technical support.

    i loved working in ukol, but there was a few times i worked 4.30pm-1pm and then up in the morning at 7am for andother shift. looking back in heinsight i regret leaving.

    i moved on and worked my way back and starting working for sky.
    a fucking monkey and a parrot could do the job. no challenges. read off screen.

    if you phone up sky technical support now, the agents are not trained technically. they are just told where to go and what to say.

    i feel for everyone who has sky.

    i got fired from sky for saving a customer money and for saving others their time. instead of reading off the screen i told the ustomer what was wrong straight away.

    now im and unemployed 17 year old with a 8 week old daughter.
    i provide broadband technical support over the mobile or to peoples houses locally.

    i have worked for sky bb tech, bt broadband tech, ukonline tech, and along side talktalk,aol,orange and even virgin media.
    if you need some advice 07594012554

  15. My connection a messing up badly. I called up and asked what the problem was. I was answered by something of a blonde whore. She said “is their anything in the way of your router?”. I immediatly put the phone down, thinking she did not even know the least about connections. I am now calling up around 3 time per week due to my connection speed. Same question, same answer. UK Online were definatly the best value for money.

  16. i had sky broadband installed in september 2008 along with sky plus and multi room, 4 weeks after installation i still had no internet signal to the router they provided after many phone calls to the premium number they send a second router ran many tests and still nothing they then blamed bt and a bt engineer was sent out to check the newely installed landline and all connections the engineer changed the main telephone socket and managed to get the router to work after going back to the exchange and changing the wires at thier end. finally i had the internet however the speed at its highest is 900kbps less than 1/2 a megabyte, to the supposed 16megabyes per second that sky not only advertise but continue to charge me for, i phone again to complain and was told it was the distance from my house to the exchange however the exchange is less then 15 minuites walk from my house, it is therefore my opinion that sky cannot and do not have the capability to provide broadband of speeds higher than 2mbps even on thier 16md package for what ever reason, i was previuosly on the 20megabyte virgin package and recieved up to 15-20mbps consistantly with no problems, im gutted i changed to sky and will now atempt to recover all costs from sky for not providing the service they promiced to provide and swich back to virgin who allthough arnt great,!! do provide more than sufficiant broadband with barely any hassle, i hope this has been usefull, good luck to anyone with this same nightmare

  17. I used to work in that call centre aswell, ‘Follow mojo’ even though its crap. 9 times out of 10 a power cycle on the router fixed the ‘internet light on’ issue, but we had to take them through optomizing browser, If that place was up to me people would have to have at least a gcse in ict, and need 1 years customer service experience. Its ridiculos. I left last month due to the fact that i hated lieing to customers.

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