In the past year, home broadband has cemented itself as an essential part of our lives. Whether you’re socialising with friends during a period of isolation or taking a meeting from the comfort of your living room, a steady internet connection is an absolute necessity. In short, we have never been so utterly dependent upon the services provided by our broadband suppliers.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to take stock and evaluate these companies. We at Expert Reviews want to make sure that you’re getting the best possible broadband service, and we’ve found the best way to do that is to listen to what you have to say.
Our broadband survey asked you to dish the dirt on your internet service provider. We wanted to know whether you’d recommend your provider to a friend or family member. You also rated your providers based on customer service, speed, reliability and value for money, and helped us paint a picture of the broadband landscape in Britain today.
The results are in and a clear winner has been decided. Below, we’ve summarised the findings of our survey as concisely as we can. To find out which providers our survey respondents scored most highly and, by extension, which ones are really worth your money, read on.
READ NEXT: Our guide to the best broadband suppliers of 2021
Overall winner: Zen Internet
Highly commended: EE, Plusnet
Rochdale-based internet service provider Zen stormed our survey, coming out on top in every single category by a comfortable margin and earning its place as our overall winner without question.
In fact, Zen Internet was the only provider to achieve a perfect score: when asked whether they would recommend Zen to a friend or family member, an unbeatable 100% of respondents said yes.
This dazzling score put even the likes of 2020’s overall winner, Plusnet, to shame, although a score of 82% still nets it a Highly Commended award. The Sheffield-based BT subsidiary narrowly loses out on the second-place spot to EE, which was recommended by 85% of respondents and wins our second Highly Commended award as a result.
As for the remaining batch of popular ISPs, the news is generally good. At least 70% of all surveyed Virgin Media, BT and Sky customers would recommend their provider to a friend. TalkTalk and Vodafone however didn’t fare as well, with at least 35% of customers saying they wouldn’t recommend their ISP to others.
Read our Zen Internet review
Best customer support: Zen Internet
Highly commended: Plusnet, Sky
Our overall winner, Zen Internet, performed particularly well in the customer support section of our survey. Of those who responded, a total 98.3% were either Very Satisfied or Satisfied with the support they received from Zen; not one single respondent felt either neutral or Dissatisfied with the service and a meagre 1.7% felt Very Dissatisfied.
Clinching the Highly Commended spots in this category are Plusnet and Sky. There’s nothing in it between the two: although Sky has a marginally higher number of Very Satisfied customers (41.7%) than Plusnet (40.9%), it has proportionally more Dissatisfied and Very Dissatisfied customers.
Sitting less comfortably are Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Vodafone. Vodafone, in particular, suffered here, with a whopping 23.8% of respondents reporting that they were Very Dissatisfied with the support they received. Some 16% of Virgin Media and TalkTalk customers felt the same way.
Read our full Plusnet review
Read our full Sky Broadband review
Most reliable: Zen Internet
Highly commended: Plusnet, BT
Not content with dominating purely in the customer service department, Zen Internet also scored remarkably well in the reliability section of our survey. Not one of the Zen customers who took our survey felt Dissatisfied or Very Dissatisfied with the reliability of their WiFi. Once again, a total 98.3% of respondents felt either Satisfied or Very Satisfied, with the remaining 1.7% choosing to sit squarely on the fence.
Plusnet earns itself another Highly Commended award here, with more than three quarters of customers feeling either Very Satisfied or Satisfied with the consistency of their internet. Taking our second Highly Commended award in this category is BT with a total 50.8% of Very Satisfied customers – although EE deserves recognition here with more Satisfied customers than any other ISP.
The remaining providers (that’s Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone) all fared worse: on average, 22.5% of customers felt either Dissatisfied or Very Dissatisfied with the reliability of these four ISPs.
Read our BT Broadband review
Read our Plusnet review
Best value: Zen Internet
Highly commended: Plusnet, EE
The results in this section are more varied but Zen Internet still comes out on top, with 64.9% of customers feeling Very Satisfied with the value for money their provider’s services represented. Plusnet and EE earn Highly Commended awards with 43.5% and 39.5% of Very Satisfied customers respectively.
At the bottom of the pile is Vodafone, with 17.1% of customers feeling Very Dissatisfied, and BT, which was the only ISP with an equal number of Very Satisfied and Very Dissatisfied customers (16.2%).
Interestingly, this section prompted a higher number of Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied responses than any other. Over one quarter of Virgin Media, BT and Sky customers were on the fence about the value for money offered by their ISPs and at least 10% of customers of the other five ISPs felt the same way.
Read our Plusnet review
Read our EE review
Best speed: Zen Internet
Highly commended: Virgin Media, EE
Pipping even the mighty Virgin Media to the post, Zen Internet snags the win in our final category, with 70.4% of customers feeling Very Satisfied with the speed of their service and 20.4% feeling Satisfied. While Virgin certainly offers the faster service (according to Ofcom data), our survey indicates that more Zen Internet customers felt their service delivered on the promised speeds.
In at a respectable second place, our previous winner Virgin Media managed a total of 60.6% Very Satisfied customers. This result earns it a Highly Commended award alongside EE, whose total of 75.6% Satisfied and Very Satisfied customers pushes it just beyond an impressive showing from Plusnet.
Vodafone, TalkTalk and BT performed less favourably in this section, with 25%, 18.2% and 13.3% of customers respectively feeling Very Dissatisfied with the speed of their service.
Read our Virgin Media Broadband review
Read our EE Broadband review
Throughout the course of 2020, we asked our readers to complete a survey on the topic of their broadband provider via a questionnaire hosted on the Expert Reviews website.
Readers who completed the survey were asked to select their broadband provider and note the package they subscribed to. They were then asked to rate the above categories in terms of which ‘smiley’ represented their feelings, ranging from very satisfied to very dissatisfied. There was also an option for ‘not applicable’. A total of 1,021 people responded to the survey.