Best and worst broadband providers

Which broadband providers should you avoid, according to the latest customer satisfaction surveys?

The last five words anyone would want, or expect, to hear come out of the mouth of a broadband customer service assistant: “No, I don’t understand either.”

Yet a couple of years ago, that’s exactly what one of our writers was told. And what made it worse was that this particular broadband operator had spent the last 30 minutes attempting to explain to them something that – it now emerged – she was also clueless about.

We're not the only people with such horror stories though...

[Prepare your home now for freezing temperatures]



Ofcom complaint figures

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has just released its complaints data, highlighting the companies guilty of the most complaints between July and September this year.

The report only looks at providers with a market share of 4% or more, so you won’t see smaller broadband networks mentioned.

Let’s take a look at the results:

Provider

Complaints per 1,000 customers (Q4 Oct-Dec 2012)

Complaints per 1,000 customers (Q1 Jan-Mar 2013)

Complaints per 1,000 customers (Q2 Apr-June 2013)

Complaints per 1,000 customers (Q2 July-Sept 2013)

EE

0.70

0.57

0.32

0.45

BT

0.30

0.33

0.28

0.41

TalkTalk

0.33

0.36

0.29

0.27

Sky

0.08

0.10

0.09

0.09

Virgin Media

0.10

0.08

0.06

0.08

Once again EE was the worst performer, collecting more than twice the industry's average number of complaints. According to Ofcom these mainly concerned billing and service faults. BT also saw a significant jump in complaints, while Sky and Virgin continued to collect the fewest complaints.

[How to avoid a Christmas debt hangover]



Which? research

This year consumer champion Which? surveyed thousands of internet users to compare experiences with various different broadband providers. Here are the results for both broadband and phone providers and broadband-only providers.

Broadband and phone:

Provider

Ease of set-up

Value for money

Customer service

Technical support

Reliability of connection

Connection speed

Score

BT

3/5

2/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

50%

AOL

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

53%

TalkTalk

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

55%

Tesco Broadband

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

2/5

3/5

55%

Sky

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

4/5

56%

EE

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

57%

Post Office

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

60%

Virgin Media

3/5

2/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

4/5

63%

Plusnet

4/5

4/5

4/5

4/5

4/5

4/5

76%

Utility Warehouse

4/5

4/5

5/5

4/5

3/5

4/5

76%

Broadband only:

Provider

Ease of set-up

Value for money

Customer service

Technical support

Reliability of connection

Connection speed

Score

AOL

3/5

2/5

1/5

2/5

2/5

1/5

38%

BT

4/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

54%

Virgin Media

4/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

4/5

4/5

63%

Plusnet

4/5

4/5

4/5

4/5

4/5

3/5

73%

So one again EE, TalkTalk and BT fail to impress. Indeed, only Plusnet and Utility Warehouse achieve a decent score, earning themselves the distinction of being recommended suppliers.

[Compare broadband deals in your area with broadbandchoices.co.uk]