Home Broadband Survey 2016

Welcome to the Broadband Genie Home Broadband Survey 2016. Combining the opinions of thousands of broadband users across the UK, millions of speed test results and a panel of industry insiders and experts we’ve set out to find which home broadband providers put in the strongest performance over the past 12 months.

Broadband Awards

Using a nationwide poll carried out by Censuswide and a survey on BroadbandGenie.co.uk, we queried over 6,000 broadband users around the UK on various aspects of their broadband providers to discover how they felt about customer service, technical support, their broadband router, speed, value for money and reliability.

Best Broadband Provider

Thanks to a strong showing in most categories and the highest overall average score, Virgin Media is our pick for the best broadband provider of 2016. Virgin did particularly well on speed, with the top score for speed satisfaction and the fastest download results.

Winner: Virgin Media

Best broadband provider 2016 award - Virgin Media Visit Virgin Media › 0800 276 1162

Best Broadband Provider

Thanks to a strong showing in most categories and the highest overall average score, Virgin Media is our pick for the best broadband provider of 2016. Virgin did particularly well on speed, with the top score for speed satisfaction and the fastest download results.

Provider Ranking:

Virgin Media
87%
Plusnet
86%
Sky
85%
EE
81%
BT
80%
TalkTalk
72%

Best Customer Care

Customer service is an essential facet of any broadband package and an area where many providers fall short. But Sky is doing something right, receiving the highest scores from its customers in this category.

Winner: Sky

Best customer care 2016 award - Sky Visit Sky › 0800 840 5386

Best Customer Care

Customer service is an essential facet of any broadband package and an area where many providers fall short. But Sky is doing something right, receiving the highest scores from its customers in this category.

Provider Ranking:

Sky
91%
Virgin Media
90%
Plusnet
89%
EE
84%
BT
84%
TalkTalk
70%

Most Reliable Broadband Provider

Is your broadband connection stable and steady, or does it give an unreliable performance with inconsistent speed? It’s another win for Virgin Media in this category, with 91% approval rating from their users.

Winner: Virgin Media

Most Reliable broadband provider 2016 award - Virgin Media Visit Virgin Media › 0800 276 1162

Most Reliable Broadband Provider

Is your broadband connection stable and steady, or does it give an unreliable performance with inconsistent speed? It’s another win for Virgin Media in this category, with 91% approval rating from their users.

Provider Ranking:

Virgin Media
91%
Plusnet
88%
Sky
87%
BT
85%
EE
83%
TalkTalk
78%

Best Technical Support

Like customer service this is an important part of after sales care that can be a point of contention for many broadband users. Sky broadband took the top award for technical support this year as 90% of Sky users are satisfied with the support they’ve received.

Winner: Sky

Best Technical Support 2016 award - Sky Visit Sky › 0800 840 5386

Best Technical Support

Like customer service this is an important part of after sales care that can be a point of contention for many broadband users. Sky broadband took the top award for technical support this year as 90% of Sky users are satisfied with the support they’ve received.

Provider Ranking:

Sky
90%
Virgin Media
89%
Plusnet
88%
BT
82%
EE
81%
TalkTalk
68%

Best Value Provider

A win for Plusnet here. 87% of its subscribers were happy with the value for money they are receiving from the Yorkshire ISP. Plusnet does have some cheap deals, but it’s also backed up with highly rated support and service.

Winner: Plusnet

Best Value provider 2016 award - Plusnet Visit Plusnet › 0800 090 1348

Best Value Provider

A win for Plusnet here. 87% of its subscribers were happy with the value for money they are receiving from the Yorkshire ISP. Plusnet does have some cheap deals, but it’s also backed up with highly rated support and service.

Provider Ranking:

Plusnet
87%
EE
81%
Sky
79%
Virgin Media
77%
TalkTalk
70%
BT
69%

Most Recommended Provider

While you may be happy with certain parts of your broadband package it says a lot about a provider if you would recommend them to friends and family. 85% of Plusnet users said they would. That’s the fifth time in a row Plusnet has won this category.

Winner: Plusnet

Most Recommended provider 2016 award - Plusnet Visit Plusnet › 0800 090 1348

Most Recommended Provider

While you may be happy with certain parts of your broadband package it says a lot about a provider if you would recommend them to friends and family. 85% of Plusnet users said they would. That’s the fifth time in a row Plusnet has won this category.

Provider Ranking:

Plusnet
85%
Virgin Media
84%
Sky
79%
EE
74%
BT
73%
TalkTalk
60%

Best Home WiFi Router

A wireless router is standard issue with any broadband package but the quality can vary. Our survey found the BT Home Hub was the highest rated ISP supplied router, winning approval for performance and features and reliability. Virgin Media’s Superhub and Sky Broadband’s Sky Hub were a very close joint second.

Winner: BT

Best Router 2016 award - BT Visit BT ›

Best Home WiFi Router

A wireless router is standard issue with any broadband package but the quality can vary. Our survey found the BT Home Hub was the highest rated ISP supplied router, winning approval for performance and features and reliability. Virgin Media’s Superhub and Sky Broadband’s Sky Hub were a very close joint second.

Provider Ranking:

BT
90%
Virgin Media
89%
Sky
89%
EE
89%
TalkTalk
88%
Plusnet
87%

Speed Awards

Speed is a key selling point of broadband and one of the first things anyone will consider when comparing deals. We looked at the results of 7.9 million speed tests supplied by broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk to find out which ISPs provided the quickest connection. Survey respondents were also asked to rate their provider for speed satisfaction.

Fastest Provider

Virgin Media’s fibre network has the fastest headline speed of any national provider. That comes across in its speed test results with an average download rate of 46.33Mb, more than twice as fast as the next quickest ISP.

Winner: Virgin Media

Fastest provider 2016 award - Virgin Media Visit Virgin Media › 0800 276 1162

Fastest Provider

Virgin Media’s fibre network has the fastest headline speed of any national provider. That comes across in its speed test results with an average download rate of 46.33Mb, more than twice as fast as the next quickest ISP.

Provider Ranking:

Virgin Media
46.32 Mb/s
BT
21.99 Mb/s
Zen
19.84 Mb/s
Plusnet
17.39 Mb/s
Eclipse
15.47 Mb/s
TalkTalk
15.39 Mb/s

Customer Speed Satisfaction

Virgin Media also ranked very well on the speed satisfaction front with a significant lead in the number of positive answers for this question, showing that the performance of its network stands up to practical day to day use.

Winner: Virgin Media

Customer Speed Satisfaction 2016 award - Virgin Media Visit Virgin Media › 0800 276 1162

Customer Speed Satisfaction

Virgin Media also ranked very well on the speed satisfaction front with a significant lead in the number of positive answers for this question, showing that the performance of its network stands up to practical day to day use.

Provider Ranking:

Virgin Media
93%
Sky
85%
Plusnet
84%
BT
83%
EE
80%
TalkTalk
75%

Panel Awards

Our panel of industry experts and insiders were asked to nominate ISPs and services for awards in several categories: best budget provider, best bundle, most innovative ISP, best streaming TV service and best catch-up TV service.

Meet the panel of judges

Jasmine Birtles Founder of Moneymagpie

Photo of Jasmine Birtles

Jasmine is the founder of the saving money website Moneymagpie and an internationally recognised finance expert. She makes regular appearances on the BBC, Sky and Channel 4 as a financial commentator.

Matt Egan Editorial Director at IDG UK

Photo of Matt Egan

Matt is the Editorial Director of IDG UK, publisher of PC Advisor, Macworld and Tech Advisor. Passionate about technology, Matt writes on a wide range of subjects from smartphones, internet security and Windows.

Matthew Evans CEO of the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG)

Photo of Matthew Evans

Matthew is the CEO of the Broadband Stakeholder Group, the UK government's leading advisory group on broadband. He is also the Executive Director of SmarterUK, as well as leading techUK’s Internet of Things Programme.

Tom Fellowes Sale Director at Spitfire

Photo of Tom Fellowes

Tom is the Sales Director at the business internet and telecoms service provider Spitfire. He joined Spitfire in 1991 and has over 20 years experience in telecoms.

Rob Hilborn Head of Strategy at Broadband Genie

Photo of Rob Hilborn

Rob is the head of strategy and spokesperson for Broadband Genie. He has keen interest in technology and a drive for saving consumers money on their broadband, TV and mobile. He frequently appears in the national media to talk about consumer telecoms.

Alex Scroxton Network Editor for ComputerWeekly

Photo of Alex Scroxton

Alex is the Networking Editor at Computer Weekly, the technology news and analysis publication. He covers matters surrounding intellectual property, web infrastructure, regulation and broadband.

Best Budget Provider

Fuel’s tempting combination of free broadband offers and bundled extras, plus a low regular price, made it to the top choice for budget broadband with almost unanimous support from the panel. Last year’s winner Plusnet was a close runner-up.

Winner: Fuel

Best budget provider 2016 award - Fuel

Best Budget Provider

Fuel’s tempting combination of free broadband offers and bundled extras, plus a low regular price, made it to the top choice for budget broadband with almost unanimous support from the panel. Last year’s winner Plusnet was a close runner-up.

  • Tom Fellowes Sale Director at Spitfire

    “Fuel offer of free broadband on a 12 month contract is fantastic, with a follow on price of £23.30 also being excellent value. Great all round offer with free router, free Amazon Fire Stick, unlimited usage and free activation.”

  • Alex Scroxton Network Editor for ComputerWeekly

    “Its tie-up with Amazon, offering Fire sticks and Amazon Prime trials, could be a big draw, particularly if you’d rather spend your money on shopping than broadband. I appreciated Fuel being upfront about the inevitable price hike at the end of the initial 12 month contract – but then keeping the costs cheap – as well.”

Best Bundled Provider

Sky offers a wide choice of bundled packages, from affordable entry level ADSL and satellite TV to superfast fibre optic broadband with sports and movie channels. The runner up position was a tie between BT, which offers very cheap TV with optional premium extras, and Virgin Media’s action packed fibre and cable TV offerings.

Winner: Sky

Best bundled provider 2016 award - Sky Visit Sky › 0800 840 5386

Best Bundled Provider

Sky offers a wide choice of bundled packages, from affordable entry level ADSL and satellite TV to superfast fibre optic broadband with sports and movie channels. The runner up position was a tie between BT, which offers very cheap TV with optional premium extras, and Virgin Media’s action packed fibre and cable TV offerings.

  • Matthew Evans CEO of the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG)

    “A cheap ADSL option and competitively price FTTC packages, coupled with some good customer service bonuses such as access to The Cloud and a well-regarded consumer support service means that Sky wins it for me this year.”

  • Rob Hilborn Head of Strategy at Broadband Genie

    “Sky continues to offer an excellent range of content with their famous satellite TV service and cheap ADSL and fibre packages. With the introduction of Sky Q their bundle package is only going to get more attractive.”

Most Innovative Provider

Relish offer a compelling alternative to traditional broadband, providing fast internet via 4G mobile broadband, eliminating the need for a fixed line. Second place goes to FTTH pioneer Gigaclear for bringing ultrafast internet to rural communities.

Winner: Relish

Most innovative provider 2016 award - Relish

Most Innovative Provider

Relish offer a compelling alternative to traditional broadband, providing fast internet via 4G mobile broadband, eliminating the need for a fixed line. Second place goes to FTTH pioneer Gigaclear for bringing ultrafast internet to rural communities.

  • Jasmine Birtles Founder of Moneymagpie

    “I’m a big fan of Relish. They’re shaking up the market….I hope”

  • Tom Fellowes Sale Director at Spitfire

    “Relish offer a genuine alternative to wired broadband for homes and businesses, easy and fast (next working day!) connection, the option of a one month contracts and good speeds. Relish continues to expand its footprint and service and will only continue to improve.”

Best Streaming TV Service

Netflix is leading the way with attractive pricing and a compelling catalogue that includes an ever-growing library of outstanding original content. In second place was Sky Go, which provides on demand and live TV for both pay-per-view users and subscribers of its satellite TV.

Winner: Netflix

Best Streaming TV Service 2016 award - Netflix

Best Streaming TV Service

Netflix is leading the way with attractive pricing and a compelling catalogue that includes an ever-growing library of outstanding original content. In second place was Sky Go, which provides on demand and live TV for both pay-per-view users and subscribers of its satellite TV.

  • Rob Hilborn Head of Strategy at Broadband Genie

    “The amazing quality of their original programming makes them a clear winner for me. From House of Cards to Better Call Saul, they know how to create unmissable TV at an affordable price.”

  • Matthew Evans CEO of the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG)

    “The best cross-platform streaming service for me. Continuing to innovate in terms of 4K content but others are catching up quickly given its relatively small UK library.”

Best Catch-up Service

The venerable old hand of catch-up TV is still the best, according to our judges. The platform is mature and supports a huge range of hardware devices, and shows are now available to stream for up to 30 days from broadcast. Close behind in this category was Sky Go, which offers much of Sky’s content free to satellite TV subscribers.

Winner: BBC iPlayer

Best Catch-up Service 2016 award - BBC iPlayer

Best Catch-up Service

The venerable old hand of catch-up TV is still the best, according to our judges. The platform is mature and supports a huge range of hardware devices, and shows are now available to stream for up to 30 days from broadcast. Close behind in this category was Sky Go, which offers much of Sky’s content free to satellite TV subscribers.

  • Alex Scroxton Network Editor for ComputerWeekly

    “A bit of a grandfather in terms of catch-up services, but all the better for it. Even though it obviously only lets you watch BBC content, it’s still go to service. It’s allowed downloads to devices for a while now, but this still stands out for me – great for passing time in airports.”

  • Jasmine Birtles Founder of Moneymagpie

    “I love it and use it all the time, particularly radio.”

Previous surveys: 2011 - 2013 - 2014 - 2015