Expert Reviews reveals the results of our reader survey into the UK’s best broadband providers
Broadband has never been such a hot topic. Between Labour’s bid to part-nationalise BT during the 2019 general election and recent proposals announced by Ofcom to “supercharge” investment in full-fibre networks, the state of the UK’s broadband is no longer a niche concern. It’s very much on the public agenda and an increasingly vital part of how the country will shape itself in the decade to come.
With that in mind, we asked you to feed back to us about your experiences with your ISP (internet service provider). We wanted to know how satisfied you were with their customer service, how reliable the connection was from day to day and week to week, how you felt about the value for money your ISP offered, and how fast that connection was.
Most importantly, however, we asked whether you’d recommend your broadband supplier to a friend, an acquaintance or a family member.
We now have the results in and they paint a picture of overall satisfaction with the quality of broadband, but with some providers clearly working better than others to keep their customers happy. Read on for the full breakdown, and to find out which suppliers you should choose.
Overall Winner: Plusnet
Good news for the seven most popular suppliers in our survey: each had a higher percentage of people saying they would recommend their service than those saying they would not. While that suggests an overall contentedness with Virgin Media, BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet, EE and Vodafone, some of these ISPs proved more recommendable than others.
A whopping 88% of Plusnet customers said they’d recommend the service they use, making it the winner in this category, and good results in all the other categories make it our clear overall winner.
EE came second in this category, just pipping Sky to a Highly Commended award. Most controversial proved to be BT, with more than a third (34%) saying they would not recommend the service to a friend.
Highly commended: Virgin Media broadband
Best customer service: EE
Of the EE customers who responded, half indicated they were satisfied, and more than a quarter indicated they were very satisfied with the customer service. This is quite the coup for a company not typically renowned for its home broadband service.
Plusnet was again a contender here, with similarly high levels of satisfaction to EE. However, this was offset by 10% of people saying they were dissatisfied and a further 10% feeling neutral. Only 1.85% of people, however, said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with EE.
Most controversial in terms of customer service proved to be TalkTalk, with close to half (49%) of its users saying they were satisfied but a significant 18% claiming to be very dissatisfied with their service.
BT was similarly divisive, with the second-largest contingent of very dissatisfied users in our survey, but still managing to leave 35% of those using it satisfied with customer service.
Highly commended: Plusnet
Most reliable: Plusnet
When it comes to the reliability of their broadband, it’s another win for Yorkshire firm Plusnet. The firm had the highest percentage of “very satisfied” customers in our survey at an impressive 62%.
Virgin Media didn’t have quite as many “very satisfied” customers as Plusnet, but with 48% in the “satisfied” and 24% in the “very satisfied” categories, it comes second place in this category.
Only 29% of TalkTalk and 22% of Vodafone users felt “very satisfied”, and TalkTalk also had the highest percentages across the board of “dissatisfied” and “very dissatisfied” users (13% and 8% respectively).
Virgin Media, BT and Sky fared better in this category, with the majority of their customers in our survey feeling either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their broadband reliability.
Highly commended: Sky
Best value: Plusnet
With a decisive 41% of its users in our survey indicating they were very satisfied with its value for money, Plusnet again comes out on top. Vodafone comes second here, just beating EE, although both had relatively high levels of users indicating they were either satisfied or very satisfied.
Sky also had a similar number of satisfied or very satisfied responders, although this result was offset by substantial numbers of customers responding to our survey who felt neutral (21%) on value.
BT and Virgin were the weakest in this category, with a fifth of Virgin Media’s users indicating they were dissatisfied with its broadband offering’s value for money, and 15% of BT users indicating they were very dissatisfied.
Highly commended: Vodafone
Best speed: Virgin Media
The final award in our 2020 Best Broadband survey goes to Virgin Media. This is a company that likes to boast about its nippy internet speeds, and with very good reason according to our readers.
With an impressive 60% of customers indicating they were very satisfied with the speed of their service, it blew the competition out of the water. The next closest, Sky, saw 33% very satisfied and 40% satisfied with the speed of their service.
Less popular were BT and TalkTalk, which each had around a quarter of their users expressing dissatisfaction about speed in our survey. That said, they still managed to leave an overall majority of their users satisfied with the speed of their connection, even if it wasn’t quite as comprehensive as Virgin Media.
Highly commended: Sky
We asked people to complete a survey about how they felt about their broadband supplier via a questionnaire hosted on the Expert Reviews website during 2019.
Readers who completed the survey were asked to select their broadband provider, and note the package they subscribed to. They were then asked to rate the above categories in terms of which ‘smiley’ represented their feelings, ranging from very satisfied to very dissatisfied. There was also an option for ‘not applicable’. A total of 620 people responded to the survey.