Best UK Internet Broadband Service Provider

Who is the Best UK Internet Broadband Service Provider?

Best UK Internet Broadband Service ProviderThis is one of the most frequently asked questions and searches on Google.

The UK broadband market is very competitive. The majority of broadband providers are LLU operators using the same BT Openreach infrastructure and therefore the differentiator between service providers is customer service and satisfaction.

Ofcom, the UK Telecoms regulator monitors and conducts research into the levels of customer service and satisfaction across the ‘main’ communications service providers in the UK.

The main communication service providers are those with a market share of 4% and above. The UK Broadband suppliers that were reviewed in the latest Ofcom report were BT, SKY, EE, Plusnet, Virgin MediaNOW, TalkTalk, Vodafone and KCOM.

We have reviewed the latest Ofcom report (Published 18 May 2023) and broken it down into a simple-to-digest summary.

Broadband Customer Service

Best UK Broadband Service - Ofcom UK Broadband Customer Service Review

Ofcom Broadband Customer Satisfaction Summary

  • In 2022, the satisfaction rate among broadband users remained stable at 82%, the same as in 2021.
  • Plusnet users reported above-average satisfaction, with 89% pleased with their service. This was on par with the majority of providers.
  • 7% of broadband users expressed dissatisfaction with their service. The predominant issue, mentioned by 64% of the unhappy users, was related to unstable connections.
  • Reliability was a key factor, with 81% of users content with the reliability of their service. This statistic echoed the 2021 figures. Plusnet again led the way, with 87% of its customers satisfied with the reliability of their broadband. TalkTalk (75%) and Virgin Media (77%), on the other hand, lagged behind the average.
  • 80% of customers were satisfied with the speed of their broadband service, a standard met by all providers.
  • 62% of customers believed they received good value for their money, which is a slight variance from 2021's figure of 66%.
  • When it came to recommendations, EE, Plusnet and SKY users were more inclined to recommend their broadband provider to friends. BT and TalkTalk customers were less likely
    than average to do so. In 2021, BT customers were more likely than average to recommend their broadband provider, while Virgin Media customers were less likely. Therefore, Virgin Media improved its relative position and BT worsened in 2022.

Recommend to a friend: broadband providers

Best UK ISP - Recommend a friend broadband UK providers review

Source: Ofcom Customer Satisfaction Tracker 2022
Note: Vodafone was included for the first time in the 2022 wave due to reaching the minimum market share requirement.

Broadband Complaints and complaints handling

Best ISP in UK - Ofcom Handling of broadband complaints 2022

Source: Ofcom Complaints Handling Tracker 2022

Broadband Complaints and Complaints Handling Summary

  • In 2022, the proportion of broadband customers with a reason to complain stood at 20%, mirroring 2021 figures. Virgin Media users, representing 25%, continued to register complaints above the norm.
  • On the brighter side, EE (13%), NOW Broadband (10%), and Sky (18%) subscribers were less were less likely than average to have complaints.
  • Of the 20% of broadband customers who said that they had had a reason to
    complain about their mobile service, 76% went on to make a complaint.
  • Predominantly, the complaints revolved around service disruptions like lagging speeds or inconsistent/complete service outages, accounting for 66%. However, this is a drop from 2021, when it was 75%. Billing or payment discrepancies were the next major concern at 25%, followed by setup and installation issues at 15%.
  • Surveyed post-complaint, 51% gave their provider's response a thumbs up, 34% felt indifferent, and 15% expressed dissatisfaction.
  • Sky bagged above-average approval at 55% for their complaint-handling mechanism, whereas TalkTalk and Virgin Media lagged at 46%.
  • Year-over-year satisfaction remained steady, with Plusnet making a notable leap to 53% in 2022 from 43% in 2021.
  • Resolving a complaint often required more than one touchpoint, with 61% needing multiple contacts. Interestingly, BT outperformed with 44% of issues resolved in one go, surpassing the average of 39%. TalkTalk and Virgin Media fell short, settling at 34% and 33% respectively. The trend of first-contact resolutions remained consistent with the previous year's findings.
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Complaints to Ofcom

In 2022, SKY generated the fewest broadband complaints to Ofcom per 100,000 subscribers while Shell Energy generated the most complaints per 100,000 subscribers at 108. The average number of broadband complaints per 100,000 subscribers was 44 in 2022, with all providers except EE (excluding Shell Energy) generating the same amount of, or fewer, complaints than in 2021.

Broadband Complaints per 100,000 subscribers

Broadband Complaints to OfCom

Source: Ofcom, 2022 and 2021.
Notes: All figures are rounded to the nearest whole number; the industry average relates only to the providers included in the analysis. Providers that did not have a consistent market share of over 1.5% in 2021/22 (e.g. NOW Broadband) were not included in the analysis. Due to changes in the providers included in the analysis (namely the inclusion of Shell Energy), the industry average is not comparable with 2021.

Average call waiting times, by UK broadband and landline provider

Best UK Broadband Provider - UK Broadband providers average call waiting times and abandonment rates 2023

Source: Ofcom / provider data, 2022.
Notes: Abandonment rates are rounded to the nearest whole number. When the actual measurable difference between providers is less than one, their results should be considered comparable. Due to changes in the providers included in the analysis (namely the inclusion of Shell Energy), the industry average is not comparable with the previous year. TalkTalk and Virgin Media were unable to provide comparable data about the percentage of calls that ended before contact with an advisor, so only information about their performance compared to the previous year has been included.

Ofcom Call waiting time and abandonment rate summary

  • In 2022, the average wait time for broadband and landline providers' calls was 2min 37s.
  • Half of these providers saw an increase in wait times from 2021.
  • KCOM, Sky, and Virgin Media managed to reduce their wait times by 53%, 2%, and 17% respectively.
  • Vodafone experienced the largest surge in wait times, jumping 155% to 3min 19s.
  • NOW Broadband had the shortest wait time at 51s, even though it was longer than their 2021 average.
  • Shell Energy had the lengthiest at 8min 14s. Additionally, 7% of calls in 2022 were abandoned before reaching a representative.
  • NOW Broadband and Sky boasted the lowest abandonment rates, while Shell Energy's was the highest.
  • Virgin Media improved its rates, but TalkTalk saw a decline
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