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TalkTalk Rated the Worst ISP by 2017 Which? Consumer Broadband Survey

Friday, September 22nd, 2017 (8:22 am) - Score 5,677

The latest biannual survey of UK phone and broadband providers by consumer magazine Which? has once again named Zen Internet as the best overall ISP (85% for customer satisfaction), but the same could not be said for TalkTalk that continues to languish at the bottom on a score of 40%.

The survey was conducted between June and July 2017 with 1,709 telecoms customers (way down from the 3,118 members surveyed in the last report). As usual the respondents were asked to rate their ISP using a mix of several different categories (e.g. speed, customer satisfaction, value for money and likelihood to recommend). A minimum of just 30 responses was required to give a rating on any particular measure.

Traditionally the biggest broadband providers tend to get pushed down to the bottom of consumer surveys like this and so it’s no surprise to find that three of them are also among the lowest rated. Sadly Talk Talk has been the habitual bottom dweller in Which?’s survey and that’s hardly a surprise given past problems, not to mention that 23% of their customers felt as if the broadband speed delivered was “poor” or “very poor“.

Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Services, said:

“Far too many people are still getting a poor deal from their broadband provider. Big players need to improve their service across the board or expect their customers to take their business elsewhere.”

By comparison Zen continued to hold the top spot, which is a position that they’ve tended to dominate for the past few years, and Virgin Media remains by far the highest rated of the biggest four providers, albeit only on a score of 54% (this is an improvement from 52% six months ago).

The biggest movers in terms of score change over the past six months were the Utility Warehouse (dropped from 81% to 76%), EE (improved from 48% to 53%) and Sky Broadband (dropped from 49% to 45%), while all the rest saw more marginal changes of + or – 1-2%.

Broadband Satisfaction Survey Results 2017 – H2 (H1 Result)
1. Zen Internet 85% (86%)
2. Utility Warehouse 76% (81%)
3. SSE 68% (66%)
4. John Lewis Broadband 66% (68%)
5. Plusnet 63% (65%)
6. Virgin Media 54% (52%)
7. EE 53% (48%)
8. Vodafone 49% (50%)
9. Post Office 47% (48%)
10. BT 46% (45%)
11. Sky Broadband 45% (49%)
12. TalkTalk 40% (38%)

As usual there are some caveats to this survey and readers will note the distinct lack of other small and highly reputable ISPs, such as AAISP and iDNET etc. The survey sample was simply too small to cover the entire market and so we only get a partial reflection; take with a pinch of salt. Unfortunately this is always likely to be the outcome when data is only extracted from a small membership pool.

We should highlight that Sky Broadband tends to rank much higher in other surveys (they usually come alongside Virgin Media), such as Ofcom’s own satisfaction study (here). Sky also receives the fewest consumer complaints among all of the biggest players, at least according to the regulator.

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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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13 Responses
  1. craski says:

    “Which” is the kind of thing my parents use and they dont understand the difference between testing on wired connections or on wireless out in the garden on their iPad at the opposite end of the house from their wifi access point. I’m not saying all respondents are like that but unless you know the technical details behind peoples setup and normal use environments the survey results are very subjective.

    I have a Zen FTTC connection and a Talk Talk FTTC connection at the same premises. The Talk Talk connection has lower latency than the Zen connection and has consistently better speed tests results with the single threaded speed test results being consistently better too.

    1. spurple says:

      Sounds like a problem for the ISPs to solve, not the users.

      I won’t complain if mesh networking kit becomes standard issue for ISPs (down from being a premium up-sell).

  2. Gareth says:

    I’ve had TalkTalk for I think abound 3 years. I’m on the up to 76Mb and always get around the 75Mb. I had PlusNet twice over a period and it literally never worked!

    The TalkTalk router is naff, I plan to replace it and the Customer Service is non existent, but I’ve never really had to use it. Unlimited 76Mb for £30 per month including the line. I’d say it’s not bad.


    1. John Crouch says:

      Just thank your lucky stars that you haven’t had to try to talk to talk talk!
      Mission impossible.

  3. Kamil K. says:

    TalkTalk is the worst ISP I ever had. I have migrated to Vodafone 40/10 and the only missing things here are static IP and IPv6. But I can live without that.

  4. I’m currently with plusnet £26.99 a month.I get the full 38Mbps,no upfront payment and no money for installation.Ive never had any problems,when I have spoken to plusnet customer service they are so polite and customer friendly,they get your problems sorted straight away.I have recommended it to my friends and family and they are now with plusnet.So people get with them PLUSNET.

    1. Ultraspeedy says:

      “…plusnet customer service they are so polite and customer friendly,they get your problems sorted straight away.”

      Yep calling people C***S and 1 hour long waits before the phone is answered, thumbs up for them 😉

    2. eM says:

      Wait until you ask them for a home move – they’ll cut the skin off you, three times 🙂
      i.e. ask you to re-sign for their most expensive contract, for 18 or 24 months.

    3. eM says:

      In contrast, when I did the home move with EE, not only did they offer me the same pricing as the new customers were getting at the time, they also did the new line and fibre activation for free, which new customers had to pay for.


    I’ve been with TalkTalk for years and get 76mb with no issues.
    Customer service could be better but if the connection and billing is OK then I have no need to contact them.

  6. Peter Cleary says:

    I guess I must be lucky being a talk talk customer never having been scammed,overcharged,incorrectly billed then spoiling it with a good BB speed.
    If you need customer service it can be a trial but if your patience lasts you usually get a result. Was with Virgin till I moved but they didn’t cover my new home.

  7. John Crouch says:

    Did you used to live in Sunbury on Thames?

  8. Philip Mountford says:

    Using an offshore call centre for Talk Talk has it’s issues. I must have spent around 10 hours on hold or talking to Talk Talk customer service in the past 18 months trying to resolve issues. It really is shocking in my experience and having to repeat each conversation and issue every time you ring is just painfully frustrating. I’m not surprised Talk Talk have are bottom of the league table. They deserve to be there. Roll on contract expiration…

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