Choosing the Right Broadband Provider: A UK Guide

August 28th, 2023
Choosing the Right Broadband Provider: A UK Guide

In today’s digital age, a fast and reliable internet connection is essential. Whether you’re streaming your favourite shows, working from home, or simply browsing the web, having a broadband provider that offers high-speed connectivity is crucial. However, not all broadband providers are created equal, and it’s important to understand which ones consistently deliver fast speeds and excellent service.

The Importance of Broadband Speeds

Broadband speeds refer to the rate at which data is transmitted over an internet connection. Faster speeds mean quicker downloads, smoother streaming, and seamless browsing experiences. Slow speeds, on the other hand, can be frustrating and hinder your online activities.

When choosing a broadband provider, it’s important to consider the speeds they offer. Faster speeds ensure that you can enjoy a lag-free online experience, even during peak usage times. It’s also crucial to understand that the speeds advertised by providers are usually the maximum achievable speeds and may vary depending on factors such as location and network congestion.

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Ofcom’s Complaints Rankings

To help consumers make informed decisions, Ofcom, the UK’s telecoms regulator, publishes complaints rankings for broadband providers. These rankings are based on the number of complaints received by Ofcom from customers who were unable to resolve their issues directly with their providers.

The latest rankings for the period between July and September 2022 reveal the most complained-about broadband providers in the UK. While the rankings provide valuable insights into the customer service standards of different providers, it’s important to note that they do not necessarily reflect the quality of broadband speeds offered by each provider.

Sometimes it can be argued that the more customers you have the more complaints you are going to receive, and whilst the figures below are based on complaints per 100,000 customers, it is worth noting the overall market share of each company to see the pressures they are under and also to see if they are adequately staffed to be able to provide the level of support people would expect

  • BT (including EE and Plusnet) 9,300,000 customers
  • Sky Broadband (including NOW Broadband) 6,700,000 customers
  • Virgin Media 5,631,000 customers
  • TalkTalk – 4,200,000 customers
  • Vodafone – 1,1580,000 customers
  • Shell Energy – 568,000 customers
  • Glide – 400,000 customers
  • Hyper-optic – 250,000 customers
  • Zen – 175,000 customers
  • Kcom – 140,000 customers

Most Complained-About Broadband Providers

According to Ofcom’s latest data, Shell Energy tops the list of most complained-about broadband providers. Customers mainly lodged complaints about faults, service issues, and difficulties getting services installed. TalkTalk and Virgin Media closely follow Shell Energy, with complaints primarily related to connection faults and complaints handling.

Here’s a breakdown of the complaints per 100,000 customers for some of the major broadband providers:

  • Shell Energy: 27 complaints
  • TalkTalk: 18 complaints
  • Virgin Media: 18 complaints
  • Plusnet: 13 complaints
  • Vodafone: 12 complaints
  • BT: 10 complaints
  • NOW Broadband: 7 complaints
  • EE: 6 complaints
  • Sky: 4 complaints

These numbers provide a snapshot of the complaint volumes received by Ofcom, but they should not be the sole factor in choosing a broadband provider. It’s essential to consider other factors such as coverage, pricing, and available packages.

Least Complained-About Broadband Providers

While some providers attract more complaints, others have a track record of delivering excellent customer service. Sky, EE, and NOW Broadband consistently receive the fewest complaints per 100,000 customers, according to Ofcom’s rankings. These providers have established themselves as reliable options for customers seeking a hassle-free broadband experience.

Here’s a summary of the number of complaints per 100,000 customers for the least complained-about providers:

  • Sky: 4 complaints
  • EE: 6 complaints
  • NOW Broadband: 7 complaints
  • BT: 10 complaints

These providers have demonstrated their commitment to customer satisfaction and have consistently performed well in terms of complaint volumes.

Understanding Broadband Complaints

Complaints about broadband services can stem from various issues, including slow speeds, connection problems, billing discrepancies, and poor customer service. Ofcom’s data highlights the key areas that customers find most problematic. These include faults, servicing, and provisioning, complaints handling, and billing, pricing, and charging.

It’s important to note that Ofcom’s complaints data represents cases where customers escalated their issues to the regulator. It does not capture direct complaints made to the providers themselves. While the data provides valuable insights into the customer service performance of different providers, it’s always advisable to contact your provider directly to resolve any issues you may be experiencing.

If you are facing ongoing issues with your broadband service and need to escalate your complaint, there are several avenues available. Ofcom is responsible for regulating the telecoms industry and overseeing consumer complaints. They have the power to intervene in unresolved disputes between consumers and providers.

Seeking Compensation for Poor Broadband Service

Poor broadband service can be frustrating, especially if you rely on it for work or other essential activities. In some cases, you may be entitled to compensation for prolonged service outages, consistently slow speeds, or other service-related issues.

Each provider may have its compensation policies in place, so it’s important to familiarise yourself with their terms and conditions. If your broadband provider fails to resolve your issue within a reasonable timeframe, you may consider seeking compensation through alternative channels, such as the Ombudsman Services or Small Claims Court.

Choosing the Right Broadband Provider

When selecting a broadband provider, it’s crucial to consider factors beyond just complaint volumes. While complaint rankings provide insights into customer experiences, they should be used in conjunction with other considerations such as coverage, pricing, available packages, and broadband speeds.

Researching and comparing different providers can be time-consuming and overwhelming. That’s where online comparison platforms like Uswitch can help. Uswitch allows you to easily compare broadband providers based on factors such as speed, price, and customer reviews. Their comprehensive reviews of major broadband providers can assist you in making an informed decision.

Remember, while broadband speeds are important, other factors such as customer service, reliability, and pricing should also be taken into account. By considering all these aspects, you can find a provider that meets your specific needs and ensures a seamless online experience.

Where to Complain About Internet Service Providers in the UK

If you encounter issues with your broadband service and need to escalate your complaint, there are several avenues available to you. Ofcom is responsible for regulating the telecoms industry in the UK and can intervene in unresolved disputes between consumers and providers. They provide a platform for submitting complaints and offer guidance on how to resolve issues with your provider.

Additionally, some broadband providers have their own dedicated customer service teams to handle complaints. Contacting your provider directly is often the first step in resolving any issues you may be facing.

If you are unable to reach a satisfactory resolution with your provider, you can seek assistance from alternative dispute resolution services such as the Ombudsman Services or consider legal action through the Small Claims Court.

Conclusion

Choosing the right broadband provider is essential for enjoying fast and reliable internet speeds. While Ofcom’s complaints rankings provide insights into customer experiences, they should be used in conjunction with other factors like coverage, pricing, and available packages.

When faced with issues, it’s important to contact your provider directly to resolve any problems. If your complaint remains unresolved, you can escalate it to Ofcom or seek assistance from alternative dispute resolution services. Understanding your rights and available options can help you navigate the broadband landscape and find a provider that meets your needs.

Remember, broadband speeds are just one aspect of the overall broadband experience. By considering all factors, you can make an informed decision and ensure a seamless online experience.

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