I have just spent an age on the phone with sky, signing up to Sky+ and when the question of the phone line came up, I dug my heels in a bit.. asked how much data usage they had on my line. They tried to say that periodically the box would be updated over the line… so I wanted to know how much and how often.

They eventually put me on to a manager, who told me the reason…

In order to offer the sky box at a subsidised price, they have done a deal with someone “Interactive Digital Services” or something like that.. these people pay sky, for having users just one click away from buying things through their tv. This payment to sky is conditional on it enforcing that users are plugged in and ready to click the red button. So Sky’s heavy handed tactics to ensure you are connected to the phone line, is to keep this contract with the third party.

The manager confirmed that only a single pulse is sent on the phone line, once a month, to confirm compliance.. not data is sent/received.

He generously gave me the option of paying £25 to have a ‘manual’ installation which was more work for the engineer, but would mean I wouldn’t need to keep it connected.
I refused, but will sniff the traffic and setup something on my network to send the pulse without the sky box being plugged in!