July 3, 2007 / 10:48 AM / 13 years ago

Household names give worst broadband service

LONDON (Reuters) - Consumers’ satisfaction with their broadband providers has continued to tumble, with household names giving the worst service, a survey shows.

Consumers' satisfaction with their broadband providers has continued to tumble, with household names giving the worst service, a survey shows. REUTERS

Some 26 percent of customers are not satisfied with their broadband providers, an increase of 3 percent on nine months ago, according to the poll by price comparison service uSwitch.com.

Orange and TalkTalk — which collectively own 14 percent of the market, with over two million customers — have failed to pull themselves out of the bottom two spots in the league.

The companies, both of which recently launched “free” broadband, have the most dissatisfied customers — 35 percent and 31 percent respectively.

In contrast, Plusnet, the smallest provider in the survey, with just 2 percent of the market, ranked top.

Only 22 percent of customers are dissatisfied with its service, the survey shows.

The company, bought by telecommunications giant BT last November, is this year celebrating its 10th birthday with offers such as free set-up and hardware for new customers.

Chris Frost, a communications analyst at uSwitch.com, said: “This time last year, free broadband was a novelty.

“Customers signed up by the masses to experience the broadband phenomenon, often for the first time.

“Now it has become a life essential, so when things go wrong, they usually go badly wrong.”

He said that while many providers had previously simply been overwhelmed by demand, consumers were now experiencing more technical problems.

“New advances in broadband technology appear to be having an adverse effect, with connection problems and service interruptions occurring all too frequently,” said Frost.

Sky, Virgin Media and AOL came in joint second place, with 24 percent of customers being dissatisfied.

In the home phone market, only 22 percent of customers were dissatisfied overall, compared to 26 percent in October.

Tiscali ranked top, with 87 percent of satisfied customers, while Virgin Media came last with just 76 percent of happy users.

The sample size for the poll, conducted by YouGov, was 10,513 broadband users and 8,647 home telephone users. Suppliers that received 200 or more responses were included in the results.

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