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The UK's best and worst broadband providers

The UK's best and worst broadband providers

Shell racks up the most complaints once again, while Sky generates the fewest. We look at how the major broadband firms compare in the latest Ofcom complaints tables.

lovemoney staff

Household money

lovemoney staff
Updated on 18 October 2022

Shell Energy has racked up the most official broadband customer complaints for the fourth consecutive quarter, latest figures from Ofcom have revealed.

The most common gripe about Shell related to complaints handling (33%), service issues (29%) and billing problems (23%).

At the other end of the scale, Sky replaced EE as the broadband provider with the fewest complaints raised against it.

Want to switch to a cheaper deal? Compare prices in your area with Broadband Genie or try Compare the Market.

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 2022.

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 issues 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.

Slow Wi-Fi? Try these seven steps to boost your speeds.

Broadband complaints ranked from least to most

Ofcom broadband complaints (Image: Ofcom)

UK's worst broadband providers

As mentioned earlier, Shell Energy has been ranked the worst broadband provider, racking up a whopping 31 complaints per 100,000 customers.

That's a sharp increase on the previous quarter's total of 22 and means its complaints are almost three times higher than the industry average of 11.

This is only the fifth quarter the company has appeared under the Shell brand in the Ofcom tables (having previously been Post Office Broadband) and it has ranked bottom in four of them, so it's fair to say the firm hasn't enjoyed the strongest of starts.

Virgin Media and TalkTalk both racked up 18 complaints per 100,000 customers over the quarter, putting them joint second last in the tables.  

Virgin Media (16) and Plusnet (12) are next on the list, and the only other firms to come in above the industry average (11). 

Speaking of which, the average number of gripes generated has increased ever-so-slightly during the latest quarter, having stood at 10 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, Sky bumped EE off the top spot with complaints dipping from four to three (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 12 quarters in a row.

So if you are in the market for a new broadband deal and value excellent customer service, you may want to give either of these a try. 

The only other firms to come in under the industry average were NOW Broadband (9) and BT (8).

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

Q1 2021

Q2 2021

Q3 2021

Q4 2021

Q1 2022

Q2 2022

TalkTalk

24

19

17

14

14

18

Plusnet

21

15

13

8

11

12

BT

15

10

9

7

7

8

Virgin Media

33

17

15

13

18

16

EE

7

4

4

5

3

6

Sky

7

5

5

4

4

3

Vodafone

24

13

12

13

13

18

Shell Energy

 

13

17

15

22

31

NOW Broadband

 

 

 

 

8

9

Industry average

19

12

10

9

10

11


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.

Also, if you're currently mid-contract and your provider is planning to hike prices, there are new rules that should make it easier for you to ditch them penalty-free, which you can read about here.

  As a final point, if you're in receipt of Universal Credit you should definitely check out social broadband tariffs, which could save you a lot of money. Read more about it here

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.

 

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