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Who is the worst broadband provider?

worst broadband provider
TalkTalk is cheap: but is it any good?

Which broadband providers should you avoid prodding with a barge pole? Well, it’s always difficult to answer a question like this as (a) there are so many variables, and (b) there are a lot of very good libel lawyers out there. But one firm indication of poor customer service is the number of complaints a company generates. So who is the worst broadband provider when it comes to customer complaints?

According to the latest Ofcom research, there’s one clear loser: TalkTalk.

Every quarter, the telecoms regulator surveys the number of complaints made against Britain’s six biggest broadband providers. It is, of course, possible that there are some smaller providers out there racking up more complaints than TalkTalk, but surveys have consistently shown that smaller ISPs tend to provide much better customer service than the big boys, so I would consider that unlikely.

Ofcom measures the number of complaints per 100,000 customers. Here are the latest results from the fourth quarter of 2017:

Broadband provider Complaints per 100,000 customers
TalkTalk 31
BT 27
Plusnet 27
Virgin Media 14
EE 12
Sky 7

To be fair to TalkTalk, it’s only recently claimed the most complained about broadband provider crown. This graph shows how the complaint levels have shifted over the past couple of years:

Broadband complaints
Source: Ofcom

The interesting thing to note here is that BT, Plusnet and EE are all part of the same BT mothership. And while EE seems to have done a great job of cleaning up its act – improving from the worst provider at the start of 2016 to the second best provider now – the other BT-owned providers remain far worse than the industry average.

Sky clearly deserves credit for being the least complained about provider for two years straight.

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About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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