Broadbad – Largest providers still failing to connect with customers


The latest Which? broadband satisfaction survey reveals that customers with the UK’s largest providers are the most likely to be getting a bad deal.

BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media supply almost nine in 10 broadband customers, yet year after year these are the providers that occupy the bottom of the consumer champion’s league table.

TalkTalk and Sky are rooted to the bottom of the latest rankings – with both firms earning only a 50 per cent customer score.

Despite having a reputation for cheap deals, TalkTalk was panned for the quality of its customer service and tech support and failed to score well in any category, including value for money.

TalkTalk customers were also the most likely to suffer from very slow speeds (27%) and frequent connection dropouts (21%) in the last 12 months.

Sky fared slightly better than TalkTalk in most categories, but more than two-thirds of Sky customers (67%) surveyed told Which? they were likely to switch broadband provider.

More than one in five (22%) Sky customers also said they had experienced issues with very slow connection speeds.

BT also received a dismal score (51%), with customers particularly unimpressed by the value for money they were getting.

The UK’s biggest broadband provider also offers disappointing customer service – and one in five customers experienced problems with very slow speeds (20%) or connection dropouts (20%), according to the Which? survey.

Virgin Media fared only slightly better, with a customer score of 58 per cent. But Virgin customers were by far the most likely to complain about price increases – with more than half (54%) highlighting this as a problem.

Virgin customers were also most likely to say they had been left without a connection for hours or days at a time (17%), or have had problems with their router (21%).

The sharpest fall in the rankings came from Vodafone, which earned a customer score of 58 per cent but crashed into the bottom half of the rankings, having been joint fourth in the consumer champion’s spring 2018 survey.

It returned mediocre ratings across the board and was also recently named the most complained-about broadband provider between July and September of 2018 by Ofcom.

Seven out of 10 (71%) people who took part in the Which? members survey said that they had been with their provider for more than three years.

But the consumer champion has previously found evidence that customers who have been with their broadband provider for a long time without haggling for a better deal are the most likely to be overpaying – potentially by hundreds of pounds a year.

Ofcom is currently reviewing pricing practices in the broadband market. It has also set out proposals which would require providers to advise customers when their contract is coming to an end and tell them about the best tariffs available to them.

The end of a contracted period is usually the time when substantial price rises take place – Which? analysis of deals on offer from the surveyed providers in March found the increase after the contracted deal is typically 21 per cent, but it can be as high as 76 per cent or up to £19 a month.

Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said:

“It’s outrageous that the biggest providers are still letting their customers down with shoddy broadband, especially when we know that longstanding customers are the most likely to be overpaying.

“Anyone who is unhappy with their current provider should take back control and switch to a better deal – you could get better service and save hundreds of pounds a year.”


Note to editors:

Which? supports Ofcom’s Boost Your Broadband campaign which helps consumers get the best from their broadband and find out if they could get a faster connection without paying more.

Customers looking for cheaper broadband can compare deals with Which? Switch Broadband, a transparent and impartial way to compare tariffs and find the best broadband supplier.

Based on a survey of 8,063 Which? Members conducted in January 2019. Customer score is based on whether people are satisfied with their provider and whether they would recommend it.


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