Procurement · 21 April 2017

Slow speeds and connection dropout – The worst broadband providers revealed

worst broadband providers
Factors used to ranked the worst broadband providers included speed and reliability

Some of the UK’s biggest networks have been ranked as the country’s worst broadband providers, after new survey findings uncovered the true frustrations of customers.

A nationwide satisfaction survey by consumer watchdog Which? took service, speed and reliability into account to create a customer score for each of the country’s 12 broadband networks.

TalkTalk ranked the most poorly, with a total customer score of just 38 per cent, with by BT, EE and Sky all scoring under 50 per cent.

Collectively, the four worst broadband providers account for a market share of 72 per cent, suggesting that a significant number of small business owners across Britain are receiving an unacceptable level of service.

Cited by 21 per cent of respondents, persistent slow speeds were the most common frustration. Frequent connection dropouts were an issue for 17 per cent of customers, while 12 per cent said their router had been a recurring problem. Which? suggested responsibility for these issues lay with the provider.

It was lesser-known providers, such as Zen Internet and Utility Warehouse, that ranked the best in terms of customer satisfaction and service.

Over seven in ten Zen Internet customers rated the provider’s service as “excellent”, while 59 per cent of Utility Warehouse did the same. The two networks were awarded stamps of approval by the consumer watchdog.

Commenting on the survey findings, Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home services, said consumers had a right to demand better service from their provider.

“Broadband is now seen as a modern day essential and people get rightly frustrated with poor service. Those who are currently with the providers performing badly should rightly complain and look to switch to one of the smaller providers if their service doesn’t improve,” he said in a statement.

The disparity between the major providers and smaller rivals – many of which use the same Openreach connection – was commented on by Andrew Ferguson of, who suggested that “serious questions” should be asked of the larger networks.

“It seems that in order to become a good broadband provider, improvements in performance are needed. Most of all, however, the major operators need to reassess how to interact with the public as clearly telecoms bosses are not getting the best from Openreach. This is likely to remain the same once the changes creating a more independent Openreach have been in place for some time,” Ferguson said.

The overall customer satisfaction ratings for the best and worst broadband providers can be found below


Customer rating

Zen Internet 86 per cent
Utility Warehouse 81 per cent
John Lewis Broadband 68 per cent
SSE 66 per cent
Plusnet 65 per cent
Virgin Media 52 per cent
Vodafone 50 per cent
Sky 49 per cent
EE 48 per cent
Post Office 48 per cent
BT 45 per cent
TalkTalk 38 per cent

New Ofcom rules could see automatic compensation given to small business owners suffering from an unacceptable level of broadband service

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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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