Biggest broadband providers bring their customers down loads

The latest Which? broadband satisfaction survey reveals a big difference between the largest players in the market and smaller internet service providers (ISPs), who are leading the way in keeping their customers happy.

Bottom of the pile in our survey were three of the UK’s biggest providers – BT, Sky and TalkTalk – all getting a customer score of below 50%. By contrast John Lewis Broadband, Plusnet, Utility Warehouse and Zen Internet were at the top of the table with scores of over 70%.

Which? is campaigning for broadband providers to improve service and deliver the speeds customers are promised. However, most of the ISPs we looked at received a score of just three stars when we asked people to rate their broadband speed. TalkTalk customers were least happy, only awarding the ISP two stars for speed. Virgin Media and Zen Internet scored four stars – every other provider we looked at got three stars.

Which? wants advertising watchdogs, The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and The Broadcasting Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) to tighten the rules to ensure advertised broadband speeds more closely match the real experience of most customers. Currently providers are allowed to advertise broadband speeds that only 10% of customers actually receive.

With more than 50,000 supporters already, our ‘Give us Broadband Speed Guaranteed’ campaign is also calling for:

  • Advertising speed claims, like “superfast”, to be quantified by providers.
  • Customers to be given written speed estimates at the start of the contract, with an accurate estimate for their individual address.
  • People to be allowed to exit contracts without penalty if they don’t get the minimum speed estimated at any point in their contract.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“Smaller suppliers are leaving larger rivals in their wake when it comes to the service they provide so we need to see the big players up their game.  Ofcom is also currently reviewing this market and we now need it to identify how it plans to ensure broadband customers get a better deal.

“We’ve told the advertising watchdogs that companies need to be much clearer with their customers about the speeds they can expect. However, three months on, we’re still waiting for them to announce how they’ll ensure adverts only show the speeds most customers actually receive.”

Which? is calling on the public to support our campaign against unclear broadband advertising speeds by signing our petition at www.which.co.uk/bbads

Notes to Editors

1.    Full results of our 2015 survey can be found here – the customer score combines overall satisfaction and how likely it is you would recommend to a friend. Our scores and star ratings are based on the results of a survey of 1,757 broadband users that we conducted in December 2014 and January 2015.

2015 Broadband best and worst table

2.   Top tips to speed up your broadband:

Change your router – Upgrading your wireless broadband router could make a big difference, especially if your current router’s a few years old.

  • Improve your wi-fi signal – Connect your router to the primary phone socket. Protect your wireless broadband network with a secure password. Aim for the most direct line of sight between your router and PC. Move your PC as close as possible to the router, or connect with an Ethernet cable.
  • Update your browser – Make sure your web browser’s up-to-date and periodically clear its cache to help it function more efficiently.
  • Switch broadband provider – Providers are not created equal. If you’re unhappy with your current provider’s speed, swapping to another could help. Use our speed checker to get the evidence you need.

Read more detailed tips on how to speed up slow broadband.

3.  Visit the Which? Consumer Rights website to see our guide on how to complain about your broadband speed

4.  Visit the Which? broadband speed checker to find out the real speed of your connection.

5.  You can find our previous release on broadband speeds including consumer research here

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