Broadband Genie
Home Broadband Survey 2014

in association with

After gathering almost 10,000 survey responses, more than 8,000 speed test results and the opinions of a panel of industry experts, the results of the Broadband Genie Home Broadband Survey 2014 are in. This year we partnered with PC Advisor magazine to make the survey more comprehensive and detailed than ever before.

Best Broadband Provider 2014

Winner: Plusnet
Broadband Genie Best Broadband Provider 2014

After winning several awards in our 2013 survey, Plusnet continued its strong performance throughout the year and has again been voted Best Broadband Provider.

Plusnet had very strong survey results which showed that 81% of its customers would recommend the provider.

Importantly, Plusnet achieved the highest customer service rating with 77% satisfied with the ISP's level of customer care, and was once more voted Best Budget Provider by our judging panel.

Plusnet also demonstrated excellent speeds, achieving an outstanding average of 24.5Mb.

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Finalist: Virgin Media

With excellent results all round in our OnePoll survey and the fastest speed test scores by some distance, Virgin Media came a very close second.

82% of Virgin customers are satisfied with the reliability and speed of their connection, while an impressive 81% would recommend Virgin.

Of the speed tests carried out during 2013 Virgin Media broadband had an average of 27.2Mb; a significant improvement over the latest OFCOM national average of 14.7Mb. This made it a clear winner of the Fastest Broadband award.

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Panel nominated awards

Our judging panel of industry insiders and commentators were asked for their opinions on the broadband ISPs that really stood out in 2013. The categories voted on were Most Innovative ISP, Best Bundled Provider and Best Budget Provider.

Our judging panel included Pamela Learmonth, Broadband Stakeholder Group CEO; Mike Davies, CEO of the Registered Digital Institute; Tom Fellowes, sales director at business ISP Spitfire; Matt Egan, Editor-in-Chief of PC Advisor, and Broadband Genie editor Matt Powell.

Each was asked to nominate a provider in each category, before casting votes on the finalists. There were no guidelines or restrictions about which providers could be nominated, giving providers big and small a chance at winning. Here's what the judges had to say...

Best Budget Provider 2014

Winner: Plusnet

"Plusnet offers excellent all round value, and crucially does not push you as much as other providers to take its phone line rental - if you do want its line rental it is (slightly) cheaper than the competition. Good all-round mixture of cheap capped and unlimited use services." - Tom Fellowes

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Finalist: Tesco

"Tesco is not just offering cheap services but also challenging the 12/18/24 month minimum of the market, providing more flexible options for consumers." - Pamela Learmonth

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TalkTalk also made the final round for budget ISPs. "TalkTalk's Simply Broadband package is incredible value, offering a truly unlimited service for a nominal fee." - Matt Powell

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Best Bundled Provider 2014

Winner: Sky

"Sky offers great TV, broadband and telephone packages to suit all budgets. Coupled with this is great customer service. It also offers superfast fibre packages at a reasonable price." - Mike Davies

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Related links: compare TV, broadband & phone bundles

Finalist: BT

"BT offers a good value all-round package for fast broadband, phone and TV. The TV package is not the most comprehensive, but in terms of all-round value the TV Entertainment with unlimited BT Infinity 2 Broadband is good value." - Tom Fellowes

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TalkTalk also made the final nominations for bundled providers: "In a climate where BT and Sky are continually investing staggering amounts, it has been TalkTalk that has actually capitalised on the bundle market, cleverly targeting the market with good value bundles with YouView." - Pamela Learmonth

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Most Innovative Provider 2014

Winner: Gigaclear

"By creating its own pure fibre network Gigaclear has delivered ultrafast gigabit broadband to neglected rural communities; a stark contrast to the government's short-sighted BDUK project." - Matt Powell

Finalist: BT

"Because again it has continued to push the boundaries of speed and reliability, pushing out fibre to the home to increasing numbers of consumers. But also because of its bold content strategy: BT now provides the content and the means for you to enjoy that content. Offering BT Sport for free has opened up competition like never before, leading to better deals from the likes of Sky and Virgin Media." - Matt Egan

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Also nominated were Gigler ("ultrafast with competitively priced packages across the consumer and business markets." - Pamela Learmonth) and Kijoma ("offers up to 40Mb downstream and 10Mb up via a wireless service typically covering up to 20km in a 120-degree arc from one aerial." - Tom Fellowes)

Broadband Survey Results 2014

For this year's survey we questioned almost 10,000 people across the UK to find out your views on home broadband services. This was comprised of a survey by OnePoll which queried 3,000 broadband customers in depth about their experiences with major ISPs, while two web surveys on the PC Advisor site solicited the opinions of more than 6,000 visitors over the last few months. Here's what we discovered.

OnePoll survey

3,000 broadband customers were asked to complete a questionnaire about their provider. The questions covered their experiences with customer service and technical support, asked about reliability and speed and, crucially, whether they would recommend their ISP to others. Each question had five possible answers - two positive, one unsure and two negative. The tables below display the combined percentage of both positive responses.

Would you recommend your broadband supplier?

This is a vital indication of overall satisfaction. You might be happy with some aspect of a service, but if you wouldn't recommend an ISP to friends or family there's something wrong. Three of the ISPs included in last year's survey - Virgin, TalkTalk and BT - have shown an improvement here. This year Plusnet tied with Virgin to achieve the best overall ranking in this category.

Does your provider have good general customer care?

Poor customer service is a major source of complaints for providers and an area many of the bigger companies have struggled with for some time. Encouragingly several providers - notably Virgin and TalkTalk - improved their ratings this year, and only BE fell below 50%. Plusnet once again did very well, getting the best in category.

Is your broadband connection reliable?

A broadband connection that drops out constantly is no use to anyone, so how did the UK's broadband users rate their providers on this important metric? Slight drops in reliability ratings for TalkTalk and BE, but Virgin did extremely well with 82%, closely followed by Plusnet.

Are you happy with your broadband speed?

The PC Advisor poll (see below) showed that speed is far and away the most important thing for broadband users. 82% of Virgin Media customers were happy with their speeds, unsurprising given its market-leading cable internet offerings. BT and Plusnet were also highly rated.

Does your provider give good technical support?

When things go wrong it's good to know your ISP has your back. This year a few previously featured providers have improved their ratings with BT, TalkTalk and Virgin enjoying significantly higher positive responses. Plusnet achieved the highest score of 71%, maintaining its position from 2013, so clearly its UK-based teams are doing something right.

PC Advisor opinion polls

Over the last few months visitors to were asked to complete these polls about home broadband. Here are the results, and some of their comments.

What's most important to you when choosing a home broadband ISP?

While we expected speed would be among the top choices it was still surprising to see 57% consider it to be the most important thing to consider when choosing a provider.

"Left Pipex for TalkTalk several years ago because of fluctuating speed problems which they couldn't resolve. I've taken on several upgrade packages with TT since then and am now enjoying a steady and speedy fibre connection." - 'TopCat'

"Living on the edge of an exchange area, I can just about get a 2Mb download speed, so ANY firm that will offer a fibre optic connection will get my order. Price is important, but speed would play a major part in my choice if I had one." - 'amonra'

"For me it must be 100% unlimited use, no fair use policy or throttling of the download speed. I stream a lot of content these days and the wife and I work from home so I don't want to be wondering if the bandwidth is going to be reduced." - 'Proclaimer'

What will be the most important broadband development of 2014?

While 25% of you said improved rural broadband would be of major importance in the coming year, 35% reckon it's going to be even cheaper home broadband that will make a difference.

"I voted for improved rural broadband as well but, I suspect, where I live it will be none of the above, again." - 'Mr Mistoffolees'

"Perhaps, the big boys will get together, and create an 'idiot proof' seamless and hassle-free world of internet browsing (no hackers, phishers, scammers etc), encompassing updates 'n' the necessary security housekeeping...all in one big broadband package!" - 'Aitchbee'

"I think that, were there a parallel poll asking what would be the least likely developments in 2014, then advances in rural broadband speeds would be my choice." - 'wee eddie'

Speed test results - what's the fastest ISP?

Winner: Virgin Media

Virgin Media took the award for fastest broadband once again with its excellent average scores throughout the year; not entirely unsurprising given that it offers the fastest mass-market broadband service in the country. It was closely followed by Plusnet, however, thanks to its high speed fibre options. BT was a near third, indicating these ISPs are the top choices for those seeking a faster broadband connection than ADSL can offer.

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