ISPreview - Editors Pick - Best Broadband ISPs for 2009
Editors Pick - Best Broadband ISPs for 2009
By: Mark Jackson - January 12th, 2009 : Page 2 -of- 3
"according to readers Be Broadband is perhaps slightly better for customer support than its O2 counterpart"

Best Balance of Price & Performance ISPs (Consumer)

There are certainly plenty of low-cost ISP solutions around but most of them seem to sacrifice service quality for a lower price point, which can lead to inferior support and frustrating performance woes. Paying less may not always be a good idea but if you have to and still require a good balance of performance to boot then we can’t really think of any better choices than the two listed below:

Be Broadband (O2) (Type: Unbundled ADSL2+ Broadband)
Reason: Be Broadband (including O2’s service, which uses the same network – both owned by Telefonica) is a relatively new ISP that made a name for itself by launching the country’s first ‘up to’ 24Mbps ADSL2+ based broadband service. Since then it has won high praise from around the web, not least for the real-world speed of its services and incredibly low pricing.

Be Broadband’s prices typically start at £13.50 per month for an ‘up to’ 8Mbps service (1.3Mbps upload), which comes with a 12 month contract, unlimited usage (fair usage policy applies), free wireless router, basic email and webspace services. The service is only available in certain unbundled areas. Those with an O2 mobile phone contract should consider O2’s comparable Be based packages, which can be a little cheaper and also offers a BT based equivalent package.

Both Be Broadband and O2 also offer faster ‘up to’ 20 to 24Mbps broadband packages for equally low pricing, though according to readers Be Broadband is perhaps slightly better for customer support than its O2 counterpart. However some customers report differing degrees of success with both CS departments.

NOTE Feb 2009: A few reports that O2/Be may be suffering from network congestion problems at the moment, especially at peak times. Typically this may only affect some users.

Sky Broadband (Type: Unbundled and BT based ADSL2+/ADSL Broadband)
Reason: Sky is a relatively new broadband ISP to the UK market and a slightly riskier bet than its more established counterparts above. However despite an initially rocky start and some customer support woes, Sky’s strong financial backing and subsidisation from its TV service has helped it to create one of the most affordable and reasonably well performing broadband services.

Prices technically start at £0 per month (£5 from March 2009) for the Sky Broadband Base package, which offers speeds of up to 2Mbps, a 2GB monthly data usage allowance, free wireless router and basic e-mail services. Those wanting more can pick the £5 (£10 from March 2009) option for a 40GB usage allowance and 8Mbps speeds. There’s also a faster 16Mbps package with unlimited data for £5 more. Naturally there’s a catch, with subscribers needing to be existing customers of Sky’s satellite TV service to benefit, which starts at an additional £17 per month.

Sadly most of Sky’s broadband services are for unbundled (LLU) lines, though they do offer a ‘Connect’ package for customers only covered by BT’s network. This costs £17 per month, offers 8Mbps connection speeds and a 40GB usage allowance plus the usual wireless router and basic email services. Line rental and other voice call packages are also available.

Sky may not offer a standalone service but we list them here because for those with a Sky TV subscription they’re still one of the best value broadband providers around and a lot of people have Sky. Take note though, their BT based package may not perform as well as their cheaper unbundled services and customer support could be better. Sky is good but for something so cheap you do take a risk.

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