Editors Pick UK Best Broadband ISPs for 2011 - Page 2
Editors Pick - UK Best Broadband ISPs for 2011
By: Mark Jackson - January 5th, 2011 : Page 2 -of- 3
"our pick of several highly reliable ISPs that have a tendency to place quality, support and service above price"

gold star
Best Quality ISPs (Consumer and Business)

Small businesses, home workers and those seeking stronger reliability in general often have to consider paying extra for higher quality. Here’s our pick of several highly reliable ISPs that have a tendency to place quality, support and service above price. We use an approximate price point of £25 as a benchmark for each of the ISPs listed below.

Zen Internet

Reason: Zen remain one of the longest standing and most well recognised of small and medium sized ISPs, with a strong history of awards being associated with their name. They are highly rated by visitors to our website (Zen Reviews) and we have never known them to have any truly major problems. Phone line rental (voice call) services are also available, either separately or as part of a bundle.

Typically such quality comes at a price, Zen's packages start at £18.37 inc. VAT per month (20Mbps speed, 10GB usage), though £25.52 will get you an ‘up to’ 20Mbps package and respectable 50GB’s (GigaBytes) of monthly download data allowance (unlimited uploads). Potential subscribers should take note of the extra services too, with highlights including a 1 month contract, anti-virus filtering, 2GB of web space and up to 8 static IP addresses. They also offer 40Mbps broadband via new fibre optic FTTC technology from £36.

Pros:

  • Excellent Performance
  • Excellent Support
  • Strong Additional Services

Cons:

  • Price, although it's worth paying extra

IDNet

Reason: IDNet continues to be a tiny but generally strong and reliable provider that frequently wins high praise from readers of independent consumer sites such as ours (IDNet Reviews). Like Zen, they offer a similar range of broadband and phone services, including via the new 40Mbps fibre optic FTTC products, although IDNet tend to be a bit cheaper.

IDNet’s broadband services start at £14.99 inc. VAT per month (24Mbps, 24GB usage), though £24.99 will net you an ‘up to’ 24Mbps connection (1.4Mbps upload) and 40GB’s peak (+140GB off-peak) monthly data usage allowance, anti-virus/spam filtering, 2GB web space and 1 month contract among other things.

Pros:

  • Excellent Performance
  • Strong Support
  • Strong Additional Services
  • Price

Cons:

  • Peak usage quote on entry-level packages could be better (minor gripe)

AAISP

Reason: AAISP (Andrews and Arnold) is easily one of the smallest, and technically niche, ISPs on this year’s shortlist of options. In addition their website is filled with enough jargon to make choosing the right package extremely difficult. However this is not a weakness, AAISP offers strong reliability and extremely knowledgeable technical support, albeit with packages that seem more focused towards business users and telecoms experts (AAISP Reviews) than truly domestic users.

AAISP's prices are more difficult to pin down due to a more dynamic approach to package construction, although a 24Mbps broadband package tends to start at around £18.32 per month for a 3GB peak and 50GB off-peak usage allowance. Native IPv6 support, 1GB of webspace and a free domain are some of the service highlights. Phone line rental and the new 40Mbps fibre optic FTTC broadband services are also available.

Pros:

  • Excellent Speed
  • Excellent Support
  • Average Additional Services

Cons:

  • Price
  • Minefield of jargon could be very confusing for some

ICUK

Reason: ICUK, much like AAISP, is another ISP that often slips under the radar when most consumers are making their new provider decisions. They’re moderately well priced and have received a lot of positive feedback in our reviews system (ICUK Reviews) over a period of several years. They also offer phone line rental and call services, although these might benefit from clearer promotion.

Prices start at just £10 per month for a bog standard 8Mbps package with a 2GB usage allowance, although paying £25 will give you download speeds of ‘up to’ 16Mbps (1.3Mbps upload), a 1 or 12 month contract option (12 months = free migration/activation), unmetered monthly downloading and email with anti-virus/spam filtering. Extra services are not as rich as some of the above choices but they’re not bad either.

Pros:

  • Good Speed
  • Strong Support
  • Average Additional Services

Cons:

  • Many packages only offer small peak-time usage allowances

Fast.co.uk

Reason: Though perhaps more of a vISP and thus often not chosen in award shortlists, Fast.co.uk has managed to gain itself a surprisingly good reputation for service quality and customer support. Few of our readers have had anything bad to say about them and they can usually be found hovering between the 1st and 2nd place of our Readers Top 10 (Fast.co.uk Reviews). However we did hear from a few unhappy customers todays the end of 2010.

Prices start at £11.99 per month for a 24Mbps service with 10GB of monthly usage, though paying just over £23.48 per month will give you a 20GB of monthly usage allowance, 3 month contract and the usual array of basic service features (email, anti-virus/spam etc.). Fast.co.uk also offers 40Mbps fibre optic FTTC broadband and phone line rental services.

Pros:

  • Good Speed
  • Good Support
  • Average Additional Services

Cons:

  • Price
  • Usage allowances are generally too low
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