For the third year in a row Plusnet is the winner of our Best Broadband Provider award thanks to a consistently strong performance in all areas. It was the highest rated provider in four out of five of the survey categories with 78% of its customers approving of the customer care, 73% satisfied with technical support and 83% saying they found the connection reliable. Overall, 73% would recommend Plusnet to friends and family.
Home Broadband Survey 2015
Welcome to the 2015 Home Broadband Survey. Each year Broadband Genie collects the opinions of broadband users from all over the country, examines speed tests and gathers insight from industry insiders and experts to discover which providers have put in the strongest performance over the past 12 months.
Best Broadband Provider - 2015
Virgin Media was again a finalist for the top award. They ranked joint second for tech support (70%) and reliability (78%), and 73% said they would recommend Virgin. It was a close match against Sky for second place but tipping the scales was Virgin’s results when it came to speed: they had by far the fastest average download at 31.95Mb and an overwhelming 81% of customers said they were satisfied with the performance.
Sky Broadband returned some very good survey results in many areas. They were second for customer care with 73% approval, tied with Virgin for technical support (70%) and reliability (78%), came in fourth for speed satisfaction, and 71% of Sky customers would recommend the provider. Sky was also in the top five for speed with an average 10.43Mb download.
Fastest Broadband Provider - 2015
Which broadband providers are capable of offering the fastest connectivity? Using data supplied by our speed test partner www.broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk we examined the results of more than 5,000,000 tests conducted in 2014.
The speed test algorithm identifies the most suitable test servers and test file size based on location, device and bandwidth. Once these factors are determined the test file is transferred using three separate threads each way to accurately and consistently report the download and upload speed of a broadband connection.
Virgin’s cable broadband is on paper the fastest mass market service in the UK, with the current headline speed of 152Mb approaching double the performance of the best BT network fibre packages available. And this stands up in practice. From speed tests conducted in 2014 Virgin had an average download rate of 31.95Mb, nearly twice as fast as BT. Upload rates were reasonably good also, averaging 5.89Mb, but this continues to be a weak spot for cable internet.
BT broadband came second in our speed test results with an average download speed of 16.18Mb. BT’s fibre optic network offers speeds up to 76Mb and is now widely available across the UK. Fibre also provides respectable upload speeds, and the ISP had the second fastest average upload performance at 6.21Mb.
Manchester based Zen were one of the UK’s first ISPs and have built a great reputation, particularly for its business broadband, though they’re also known as a top choice for consumers looking for an alternative to the major players. Zen slipped comfortably into third place with an average download of 13.77Mb, and impressively had the fastest upload with an average 7.5Mb.
Panel Nominated Awards - 2015
On our judging panel for this year’s survey was Tom Fellowes, CEO of business ISP Spitfire; Matthew Evans, Policy Manager for the Broadband Stakeholder Group and Chris Marling, Genie Ventures’ senior editor.
Our panel were asked for their opinion on the best budget broadband provider, best broadband, phone and TV bundle provider, and to tell us which was 2014’s most innovative ISP.
Best Budget Provider - 2015
Best Bundled Provider - 2015
Sky offers both inexpensive ADSL home broadband and superfast fibre optic bundled with a satellite TV service that provides flexible channel packages, bolstered by some great extras like Sky Go and free catch-up TV and box set streaming.
Most Innovative Provider - 2015
Relish is a unique and truly innovative ISP that offers unlimited home broadband on 1 month or 12 month contracts without the need for a phone line, instead utilising 4G mobile broadband signals to provide its services in Central London.
Results Breakdown (click to see below)
Does your provider have good general customer care?
One of the most common complaints we hear about home broadband relates to the standard of customer service, so this is an absolutely vital metric. Plusnet was a clear winner with 78% of its customers responding positively to this question, though nearly all the ISPs showed an improvement over the 2014 results in this area. Only Virgin showed no improvement, receiving the same score as last year.
Is your broadband connection reliable?
A broadband service that constantly falls over isn’t much use, and although it seems many of us are happier with the stability of our connections - no ISP fell below 60% approval this year - it was a mixed bag overall. Plusnet led the pack with 83% satisfaction, and Sky and TalkTalk both improved over last year, but Virgin, BT and EE all saw slight drops in customer satisfaction for this aspect of their services.
Are you happy with your broadband speed?
While our speed test results provide raw data on the performance of broadband in the UK, we also wanted to know how happy you were with the speed of your ISP in day to day use. Did they live up to expectations, or leave you wanting more? Virgin Media took the lead with 81%, while Plusnet and BT tied for second place and Sky was third with 71%. Encouragingly none of the providers fell below 60% positive responses for this question, compared to a low of 55% last year.
Does your provider give good technical support?
Running into problems with your broadband is annoying enough, but encountering poor technical support along the way can be infuriating. Plusnet - which has a UK based support team - again led the way in this category, but it was positive to note an improvement for all ISPs over last year’s survey, particularly for EE and TalkTalk who now each have more than 50% approval for their customer service.
Would you recommend your broadband supplier?
Taking everything into consideration, would you recommend your broadband provider? Last year both Plusnet and Virgin did well in this category, with 81% of their users saying they would. In 2015 Plusnet came out on top, but with a lower 74%, followed by Virgin at 73% and Sky with 71%. EE fell from 65% to 61% but TalkTalk improved by almost as much, going from 61% to 64%.