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The Best Broadband ISPs for 2014 – ISPreview UK Editors Pick

Monday, January 6th, 2014 (1:59 am) - Score 119,301
best uk broadband isp gold star

General Commendations

The ISPs listed below haven’t quite made the top recommendations and this is often due to a lack of customer feedback, mixed ratings or the fact that the ISPs only provide a niche service to particular areas of the country (i.e. no national coverage). Never the less we still consider them to be worthy of consideration.

Readers are also urged to visit out our Top 10 Reader Reviewed ISPs page and the Reader ISP Reviews section in general for further options. There are usually plenty of other good ISPs around that might interest you. Now on to the commendations..

* Timico

Admittedly Timico are more aggressively business focused, we don’t have as much feedback for them and they’re perhaps a bit too expensive for home users. Never the less Timico has built itself a strong reputation for quality and their broadband packages are now a lot more accessible, which makes them deserving of a mention.

* B4RN

A truly excellent community built project in the Lower Lune Valley area of rural Lancashire (England), which is rolling out a 1000Mbps capable fibre optic broadband (FTTH) network to local premises.

* Hyperoptic

Another 1000Mbps capable fibre optic provider, albeit this time focused on dense urban areas. At present they only deploy to high rise buildings and apartment blocks in London but significant plans are afoot to expand. Very highly rated.. if you can get it.

* Eclipse Internet

A familiar name to the ISP industry and one that’s had its ups and downs, although they usually manage to deliver a good quality of service and have significant plans to double in size over the next few years.

General Disclaimer:

We always attempt to pick ISPs that have shown fairly consistent performance and reliability over the past 12 months but there is no such thing as perfection and experiences do differ, especially with broadband being a shared “best efforts” service. Often even poorly rated ISPs can deliver an excellent service; although the ratio of dissatisfied customers to satisfied ones will be higher (i.e. you stand a greater chance of getting burnt).

It’s also important to remember that ISP service quality can vary from location to location and is affected by many different factors, such as the length of your phone line, local capacity at the telephone exchange and the type of line itself (e.g. copper, aluminium, fibre optic, coax etc). Many of these factors will be out of your ISPs ability to control.

Like many sites ISPreview.co.uk’s continued existence as a free source of information is only possible due to the advertising that can be found displayed around our pages (e.g. banners and affiliate links), which is mostly automatic and usually not managed directly by us (e.g. Google Ad Banners). Crucially, and unlike the big comparison sites, we do not charge ISPs a fee to be listed and do not restrict our coverage to only the largest providers. Our impartial policy is to list and cover all legal ISPs in the same way, regardless of advertising.

* NOTE: The pricing and recommendations of this article are only valid for the date published.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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15 Responses
  1. Avatar Bob2002

    Have to disagree about speed and quality from Plusnet. My speedtests(around 73 Mb/s with a profile of about 77Mb) have been consistent since I had FTTC installed back last Easter. And the quality of the connection is fine as well, hasn’t missed a beat under heavy use.

  2. Avatar FibreFred

    How come Virgin has support listed as a Con? I thought they did generally well in this area and I seem to remember a few articles on this site to back that up, mention of awards etc

    • Most of the gripes that pass through my inbox about Virgin Media tend to stem from problems with customer support, such as staff that fail to acknowledge that a problem even exists until several days later or which suggest silly solutions when the line is totally dead (e.g. replacing the router).

      Slow service status updates, poor communication between departments and other issues along those lines seemed quite common. I think they’ve improved a fair bit in the last few months of 2013 but we still see a fair few gripes and I can’t ignore that feedback.

      But you’ll note that most of the ‘value’ picks have support as a negative so it’s not uncommon :). Smaller ISPs just tend to do much better on that front.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      I see, thanks for that

    • Avatar CrazyLazy

      Also with Virgin i think you will find the customer call centre you have to phone if you have issues differs depending on if you are an Virgin.net (ADSL) customer or Virgin cable. Or that at least used to be the case. Obviously the cable service given its awards this year does better. Maybe they do not see as many complaints as the cable product?

    • Avatar CrazyLazy

      Opps that should obviously read “Maybe they do not see as many complaints WITH the cable product?”

  3. Avatar dragoneast

    I’ve used IDNet for my landline broadband for a couple of years now. Regrettably over the last 6 months or so customers around the country both on VDSL and ADSL connections are reporting regular working day daytime/evening packet loss of up to 5% or so on their forum, and variable throughput speeds. They’ve increased capacity but don’t seem yet to have sorted it. There might be a suspicion that home users are being affected by some “excessive” business use of the odd major commercial customer. I only mention it since it’s looking like a “general” issue. It doesn’t show up in the same way on other ISPs (as far as I can gather). And may not matter unless QoS is critical.

  4. Avatar Peter

    The Plus.Net 40GB FTTC offering (up to 38 Mbps) has the same ‘unmetered overnight’ as the lower speed service.

    I still think 40 GB a bit limiting (and as they offer unlimited data for 9.99/month on ADSL, not sure how the costs stack up from Openreach), but for people out at work on the 9 to 5 grind, it may be fine.

  5. Avatar MinusNet

    Took me 3 months against PlusNet to get things resolved. They agreed to port my phone number over but it didn’t happen on day of transfer. No honest answer when I asked why this wasn’t done after countless phone calls and raising job tickets. Just one excuse after the other. Caught them out lying when they blamed it on my phone supplier who hadn’t even received a transfer request from Plusnet. I know because I checked.

    After 8 weeks of fake promises to look into it, I used CISAS and suddenly they paid attention and got their finger out to do the work.

    You get what you get for. Pay more for a company that provides decent support.

  6. Avatar cyclope

    Not with plusnet but was considering them, but reading their forums is a little off putting, they don’t seem to be able to support their customer base in a timely fashion anymore, there are issues with online gaming /peering too, as well as peak time slow downs and from the looks of some of the ping monitor graphs, lets say i wouldn’t be a happy bunny if they where of my connection

  7. Avatar Michael Bradbrook

    I moved over to Plusnet in October I had problems with them. They changed my telephone to a new number without me knowing, but I wasn’t bothered, but since getting FTTC with Plusnet and everything has been fine. I have not had a problem with them once and my speed hasn’t dropped below 74meg.

  8. Avatar supercasual

    I am a member of plusnet. in the last year they have become pathetic. Speed has drifted down. Service has dropped off a cliff and support has become sparse and worse over time.

    I am not impressed. Having in the past refered others to this company i am now going to leave as they have time and time again failed to provide support or information for weeks on end.

  9. Avatar pauld

    why does this website not discuss contract lengths, i think a thumbs up should be given for shorter contract lengths

  10. Avatar Mmouse

    sky are censoring my web site visits – despite not rewuesting sky shield they have cut off visits to certain sites – I am way over 21 and resent being censored by n organisation that has been in court and in front of MPs for perjury and hacking!

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