Choosing a broadband provider

30 April 2019

There are lots of things to consider when choosing which broadband provider to use, especially if you want to take landline and pay TV as well.

We have gathered together some useful information on the main questions that you might have about providers. What matters to you?

Overall satisfaction with provider

Average satisfaction with overall service is 83%. BT = 80%. EE = 87%. Plusnet = 86%. Sky = 83%. TalkTalk = 79%. Virgin Mobile = 85%.

Note: For definitions and methodology see the comparing service quality 2020 report (PDF, 3.2 MB) and methodology annex (PDF, 120.9 KB).

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How much will it cost? Can I get landline and TV?

The price of a contract can vary, according to provider, the type of technology used to deliver the service, the headline speed of the package, any extra features or bundled products, the length of the contract, and whether there are installation fees. It’s important to think about the monthly cost as well as any upfront charges.

One way to decide if the price and package is right for you is to use a price comparison website. Ofcom accredits price comparison services that are transparent, accessible, accurate, comprehensive and up to date, and all our members must list their deals from cheapest to most expensive (across the whole contract). See a list of accredited websites.

What speed will I get?

It’s impossible to know exactly what speeds you will experience because it can be affected by many things. Providers who are signatories to the broadband speeds codes of practice will give you a speed estimate on their website and at the point of sale. Price comparison websites can also tell you what speed tiers are available in your area, and Ofcom’s broadband coverage checker will indicate what maximum speed you might get.

Would other customers recommend them?

There’s nothing quite like knowing what existing customers think of a provider. We asked customers whether they would be likely to recommend their current provider*, and here are the results:

In 2020, customers were less likely to recommend TalkTalk.

*Net Promoter ScoreTM - see methodology annex details (PDF, 112.8 KB)

How many customers complain?

If you know that current customers don’t have much of a reason to complain, you might be more confident about taking a new service with a new provider. We looked at how many people complained directly to Ofcom about providers in 2018:

Vodafone received the most complaints (115) per 100,000 customers in 2019. Sky received the fewest (21). TalkTalk = 87. BT = 50. Virgin Media = 60%. EE = 22.

How quickly can I speak to someone if I have a problem?

If something does go wrong, it might be important to you to talk to someone as quickly as possible and for this to be an easy process. We asked providers to tell us how quickly their customers can talk to an agent and how many people hang up while they’re waiting:

The average call waiting time is 02:10. BT = 00:55. EE = 00:26. KCOM = 00:54. Plusnet = 03:48. Post Office = 01:12. Sky = 02:28. TalkTalk = 00:39. Virgin Media = 04:26. Vodafone = 02:16.

How can I improve my speed?

If you are unhappy with the speed of your broadband, there are some practical steps that may help improve your speed.

You can also think about upgrading to the next speed tier, or switching to a faster technology like full fibre.

Ofcom is working to ensure that all customers will have access to a speed of at least 10Mbps. Find out more about the universal service obligation.

From 15 February 2020, broadband, phone and pay-TV customers must be told about their provider’s best deals when their initial contract is coming to an end, and every year after that if they remain out of contract.

For more information on these notifications, see our latest update.

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