Broadband Survey 2009: how each ISP fared

Broadband Genie has once again worked with PC Advisor magazine on the UK's most extensive insight into broadband customer satisfaction levels in the UK, the 2009 Broadband Survey. The survey, sponsored by Broadband Genie and now in its fifth year, asked people to provide feedback on the reliability of their connections, the download speeds they achieve and the customer service they receive.

O2 came out on top, landing the coveted 'Best Buy' award, with BE Broadband, PlusNet and Zen Internet getting honourable mentions with 'Recommended' awards. But how did the other providers get on how did the results break down?

The customer satisfaction survey got enough responses (more than 6,500 in total) to include results from more than 10 of the UK's leading ISPs, adding the likes of AOL, BT, Orange Broadband, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk, Tiscali and Virgin Media to the mix. You can see their overall star ratings below, or click on the provider's name above to get the full details on each individual one, rated on overall satisfaction; reliability; technical support; customer service; satisfaction with speeds; and would recommend. There are some highlights from each category below.


Overall Star Rating (out of 5)*
O2 4.5
BE Broadband 4
PlusNet 4
Zen Internet 4
BT Broadband 3.5
Sky Broadband 3.5
Virgin Media 3.5
Orange Broadband 3
TalkTalk 3
AOL 2.5
Tiscali 2.5


Overall satisfaction

Zen (94.5 per cent), O2 (92.3) and BT (90.4) performed really well here, rating averaging more than 90 per cent. Some may be surprised at BT's high score, but it just goes to show the company is actually ticking a lot of the right boxes for the majority of people. Less surprising to most will be that AOL was last by a distance, managing just 50.4 per cent.


Only Zen (93 per cent) managed a score of more than 90 per cent for reliability, although PlusNet (89.9) and BT (89.8) came tantalisingly close. Again BT scored well, but from here on in their scores were down in the mid to low 70s, meaning they missed out on one of the overall awards. Tiscali (45.7) pipped AOL (55.8) to the wooden spoon with the lowest score any ISP got in any category, while Orange (64.8) and TalkTalk also performed pretty poorly.

Technical support & customer service

Few will be amazed by the fact that no ISP managed a score above 85 per cent in either of these categories. The same three companies took the plaudits on offer in both of these categories: BE (83 per cent for tech support and 84.9 per cent for customer service), O2 (79.7 and 85) and PlusNet (78.6 and 81). This time Tiscali (54.1 and 53.3) performed worst in the eyes of its customers, while Orange (57.6 and 58.2) weren't far behind. There is clearly something to be learned about outsourcing here, as both of Tiscali and Orange outsource their support services abroad.

Satisfaction with speed

O2 topped this one at 91.1 per cent, but they were followed by a pack in the mid 80s consisting of BE, PlusNet, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen. The only ISP to fall below 70 per cent was AOL (63.9), showing even though there are lots of stories about slow speeds and complaints about the joke of 'up to' claims, people are generally getting enough Mb to suit their needs. BT (70.6) scored poorly here too, but this reflects the fact it has to service a lot of rural areas that other ISPs tend to avoid like the plague.

Would recommend

In keeping with the final awards, the four companies that PC Advisor recommend were the same four taking more than 90 per cent averages here. Zen (95.8) led the way with the highest score in any category, with O2 (94.2), BE (93.8) and PlusNet (90.6) close behind. AOL rounded off a terrible survey with 54 per cent of its customers saying they would recommend it: Orange (64.4) and Tiscali (65.3) were next, with BT (76.9) falling a little behind the rest who all scored in the 80s – pretty good for a consumer market that gets more than its fair share of criticism.


Broadband Genie and PC Advisor are inundated with thousands of consumer opinions on all things broadband, and over time the best ISPs consistently rise to the top. It's no surprise to us that the likes of O2, BE, PlusNet and Zen are taking the plaudits this time - just take a look at their provider pages and you'll see far fewer complaints and many more positive comments than you will for some of the others. 

Some people look immediately for household names, the big players - brands they feel they can trust. So it's good to see BT, Sky and Virgin Media nestled in behind the more niche companies with some pretty good results. 


* Selected results.


  • happy

    by Andrew Clark at 15:55 on 22 Oct 2009 Report abuse

    Hi team

    As soon as I can get away from T-Mobile's apalling non-existent 'blackspot' coverage here in East Anglia, then I will follow your excellent advice and change to 02 etc.

    Thanks, Andrew

  • neutral

    by sharon campbell at 14:51 on 24 Nov 2009 Report abuse

    dont believe any of the providers info about download speed ect, i have been paying 02 £22 for 6 months and dont even get a speed of 1mb! I have checked on loads of these postcode checkers and they all say i should be getting 8mb, what a laugh im trapped paying 4 something that doesnt provide what it says it should! buyers beware! there are some providers that give you a 10 day get out offer, i shall be trying one of those next time, thanks o2 you were really unhelpfull!

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