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Best and Worst Broadband Providers 2020

Last updated: 17 May 2021

Best and Worst Broadband Providers 2020
Thousands of customers complain about their broadband provider every year, with issues ranging from connection problems to unexpected price hikes. However, some providers perform better than others in terms of the volume of complaints they receive, and knowing which companies are the worst culprits can help you make an informed decision about your next provider.
Ofcom’s annual customer service report looks at how the major broadband providers in the UK perform each year on factors such as customer satisfaction and complaints handling. The market regulator gives an independent report into what levels of customer service phone and broadband customers can expect. 
Read on to find out who were the country’s best and worst broadband providers in 2020.

How are broadband providers ranked?

Every year, industry regulator Ofcom collects a survey of overall broadband customer satisfaction, including satisfaction with customer service, satisfaction with complaints handling, and average call waiting times.

Remember that the ranking only provides a snapshot into the happiness of customers for each provider. It does not necessarily relate directly to how good their broadband service is, but it can indicate when a provider is having more issues than normal.

You must also remember that the complaints per 100,000 customers only shows you the number of customers who were so unhappy that they escalated their complaint to the regulator (direct complaints to the provider are not included). In reality, there may actually be far more unhappy customers than this data suggests.

These rankings do not mean you should necessarily switch broadband provider either. You may find that you have had no problems with your broadband service, but your provider is ranked unfavourably by Ofcom. As long as you’re happy then there is probably no need to switch!

Who were the best broadband providers in 2020?

Here we will look at which providers performed best in each category of Ocfom’s latest customer satisfaction survey:

Satisfaction with service overall

The best broadband provider in 2020 in terms of overall customer satisfaction was Plusnet with a score of 93%. This is slightly higher than the UK average of 85%, while the second best provider for this category was EE, with a score of 88%.

Customers with a reason to complain

Both BT and the Post Office had the lowest number of customers with a reason to complain about their broadband service, at just 10% each. This is lower than the UK average of 12%, which is also the percentage of both Sky and Vodafone customers that had a reason to complain.

Overall satisfaction with complaint handling

When it comes to customers’ complaints being handled effectively and efficiently, EE customers were the most satisfied at 66%. This is significantly higher than the UK average of 53% of customers who were satisfied with their provider’s response. Sky also performed well in this category, with 62% of its customers left satisfied.

Average call waiting time

EE again came out on top in this category, with an impressive average call waiting time of just 26 seconds, far below the UK average of 2 minutes and 10 seconds. TalkTalk ranks a close second with average waiting times of just 39 seconds, while BT also had to wait less than a minute on average.

Ofcom complaints per 100,000 subscribers

Overall, Sky had the lowest proportion of its customers making a complaint to Ofcom at just 21 complaints per 100,000 subscribers. This is less than half of the UK average of 52 per 100,000. However, EE performed almost as well in this category, with just 22 complaints per 100,000 customers.

Who were the worst broadband providers in 2020?

Looking at the same data, let’s take a look at which broadband providers performed worst for each category:

Satisfaction with service overall

Out of the major providers in the UK, TalkTalk had the lowest number of customers satisfied with their overall service at just 78%. This is significantly lower than other major providers who all scored at least the UK average of 85%.

Customers with a reason to complain

EE had the highest number of customers with a reason to complain at 15%, just above the UK average of 12%. However, the rest of the data suggests that EE makes up for this with above average customer service, as it had the highest satisfaction with its complaints handling, the quickest call waiting times, and the second-lowest number of complaints referred to Ofcom.

Overall satisfaction with complaint handling

TalkTalk customers were the least satisfied with their provider’s complaints handling at just 44%, well below the UK average of 53%. However, Virgin Media didn’t fare much better, leaving just 46% of customers satisfied, while less than half of Plusnet customers weren’t left satisfied either after complaining.

Average call waiting time

Virgin Media customers had to endure the longest call waiting times by far out of the major broadband providers, with an average waiting time of 4 minutes and 26 seconds. This is more than double the UK average of 2 minutes and 10 seconds. Plusnet customers also had to put with above-average call waiting times at 3 minutes and 48 seconds.

Ofcom complaints per 100,000 subscribers

At 115 complaints per 100,000 subscribers forwarded to Ofcom, Vodafone ranked worst in this regard, and was well above the UK average of 52 complaints per 100,000. Plusnet also performed quite badly here, with 100 complaints per 100,000 customers.

So, who is the best and who is the worst broadband provider overall?

Overall, it’s hard to categorically say which broadband provider can be considered the best, as there are so many different factors at play, and customers will have different priorities depending on their needs. For a more in-depth analysis of Ofcom’s latest customer satisfaction survey, you can read their report here.

Danny Lord

Author: Danny Lord

Danny is our Editor-in-Chief, and has been writing news and guides for comparison sites for the last five years.