The UK's best and worst broadband providers based on complaints


Updated on 18 November 2021 | 53 Comments

TalkTalk replaces Virgin Media as the UK’s worst broadband provider, while EE takes top spot. We look at how the major broadband firms compare in the latest Ofcom complaints tables.

TalkTalk has racked up the most official broadband complaints from customers, latest figures from Ofcom have revealed.

The most common gripe about Vodafone related to faults, service, and provisioning issues (30%) followed by complaints handling (22%) and billing issues (20%).

At the other end of the scale, EE was revealed as the broadband providers with the fewest complaints raised against them.

Interestingly, there was a sharp decline in overall complaints during the quarter and are now at a level not seen since before the pandemic struck.  

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How the best & worst firms are ranked

Every quarter, Ofcom provides its breakdown of complaints per 100,000 customers that each major provider attracts. 

These stats take some time to put together, so the latest figures that we're discussing in this article cover the period between April and June 2021.

If your provider features near the top of the complaints list, or you simply want a cheaper deal, make sure you compare broadband deals in your area today.

It's straightforward and you could save hundreds, especially if you opt to bundle your broadband with your landline and pay TV provider.

As a final point, while the figures below might sound extremely low, it's worth remembering these aren't just for complaints made to broadband firms: they are issues that have been escalated to the regulator because customers have been unable to get their issue resolved directly with their provider.

The actual number of unhappy customers will be far higher than this as these only cover the documented, extreme cases.

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Complaints ranked from least to most

Ofcom broadband complaints (Image: Ofcom)

UK's worst broadband providers

As mentioned earlier, TalkTalk was ranked the worst broadband provider, racking up 19 complaints per 100,000 customers.

That's actually marked an improvement on the previous quarter's total of 24, but it still slipped to last place as rival firms achieved greater reductions in complaints. 

Virgin Media's complaints almost halved from 33 per 100,000 customers in the previous quarter to just 17 in the latest data, helping lift it above TalkTalk.

In third last was Plusnet with 15 complaints per 100,000 customers, which is down from 21 in the previous three months.

Shell Energy made its debut in the tables having recently purchased the Post Office's broadband business.

It generated a total of 13 complaints per 100,000 customers, tied with Vodafone, just above the industry average of 12 complaints.

Speaking of which, the average number of gripes generated fell sharply over the quarter, having stood at 19 per 100,000 in the previous three months.

Your rights if your broadband connection goes down

UK's best broadband providers

At the other end of the league table, EE took top spot with just four complaints followed by Sky with five (interested in joining Sky? Check out the latest deals here).

These two companies are consistently the best performers in the complaint stakes, having shared the top two positions for the last eight quarters in a row.

The only other firm to come in under the industry average was BT, although its average of 10 complaints per 100,000 makes it a distant third compared to the top two performers.

Below are the results over the past six quarters to give you a clearer picture of how well (or not) the various broadband providers treat their customers over time.

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Complaints to Ofcom per 100,000 customers 

Provider

Q4 2019

Q1 2020

Q2 2020

Q3 2020

Q4 2020

Q1 2021

Q2 2021

TalkTalk

19

22

22

18

19

24

19

Plusnet

20

16

9

23

21

21

15

BT

10

12

7

16

14

15

10

Virgin Media

14

13

12

20

23

33

17

EE

5

3

3

7

6

7

4

Sky

5

6

4

6

7

7

5

Vodafone

28

23

21

26

30

24

13

Shell Energy

 

 

 

 

 

 

13

Industry average

12

12

10

15

16

19

12

Should you switch even if you're happy?

The above figures give you a good idea of which firms have the worst track records for treating customers fairly. 

But even if you are with one of the better performers, it's seriously worth considering switching if you've been with them for more than a couple of years.

Why? Research has highlighted how broadband firms are charging existing customers the best part of £200 a year more for the identical service being offered to new customers.

So even if you're happy with your service, you should still ensure you aren't getting ripped off by regularly shopping around for cheap broadband deals

Which are the best and worst telecoms firms?

So, there you have it, your round-up of the UK's best and worst broadband providers.

Find out which other telecoms firms you should be dodging by reading The UK’s worst pay TV providerThe UK's worst home phone provider and The UK’s best and worst mobile networks.

*This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently.

 

More on phone and broadband:

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How to cut the cost of your Sky TV, broadband and phone bills

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