Which? Identifies the Most Moaned About UK Broadband ISPs
A new survey of 7,026 broadband customers, which was conducted by consumer magazine Which? in July 2018, has examined 12 of the biggest UK home broadband ISPs and found that customers of Virgin Media were the most likely to experience problems with their service. Meanwhile subscribers to Zen Internet had the least moans.
The most common gripes across all of the providers stemmed from price increases, slow broadband speeds, connection dropouts and router problems. For example, some 45% of Virgin Media users complained about price increases, which was followed by router problems (21%) and connection drop outs (16%).
The cable operator has over the past 12 months hit subscribers with a couple of price increases for their broadband, phone and TV services, although this trend is not uncommon among all of the biggest ISPs. Similarly Virgin has also had to contend with some widely reported bugs in their top Hub 3.0 (SuperHub v3) router, which includes the now infamous latency flaw (here).
Overall Which?’s survey noted that the most complained about ISPs were Virgin Media, BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and the Post Office (in that order). Meanwhile the smaller providers did fair better, although it’s noted that even the best rated Zen Internet still had problems that affected a third of their customers (i.e. slow speeds 11%, frequent drop outs 10%, router problems 10% and general connection drop outs 4%).
In fairness, over the course of a year you’d expect to see the occasional service disruption no matter who supplies your broadband, which is somewhat par for the course when dealing with complicated networks and computer systems. Just as your Computer or Smartphone may occasionally run into the odd problem, so do telecoms networks.
As usual we always recommend taking the results of such studies with a pinch of salt, not least because we don’t know how much feedback each ISP received. Meanwhile Ofcom’s own complaints statistics suggest that Sky Broadband, Virgin Media and EE may actually receive proportionally fewer complaints than some of their largest rivals (here).
Similarly not all problems with speed or routers are the fault of your ISP. For example, speeds can be affected by slow WiFi, local network congestion or poor wiring within your home and routers can easily be screwed up by poor end-user configuration. Simply blaming the ISP for everything that goes wrong isn’t always fair or accurate.
In the end Which? noted that 81% of respondents had been with their ISP for more than 2 years and were likely to be out of their minimum contract term, which meant they could be paying more than others for the same service. Typically the magazine suggested switching ISPs to save money, although the above survey indicates that many of the cheapest and largest providers also attract proportionally more gripes (out of the frying pan..).
Industry: Telecommunications News
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