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The Top Reasons Why UK Consumers Stay with their Broadband ISP

Saturday, August 17th, 2019 (7:43 am) - Score 4,994
Go or Stay concept with three red dice on a white background.

A new survey of 1,000 broadband customers, conducted by Which?, has revealed that 40% had been with the same ISP for 10 years and only 15% had been with their provider for less than 2 years (likely to reflect recent switchers). The reasons for this tended to vary between users of BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Virgin Media.

Sadly the survey only reveals partial results for each internet / TV provider and offers no information about its methodology or when the study itself took place, although there are still a few useful insights to be had even if it does only stem from a fairly small sample size.

Overall just 29% said they stuck with their current broadband ISP because they thought it was the best, while 26% stayed loyal because they feared that other providers might be worse and 25% felt their existing provider offered them the cheapest price.

The survey then looked at the top reasons for why consumers chose to stay with each of the markets biggest four broadband and TV providers. As you’d expect, there’s a lot of variation, although with only partial results it’s difficult to draw too many conclusions.

Top Reasons for Staying with an ISP

Virgin Media

37% of customers said they stay a customer because they feel their provider is the best.


21% stayed because they felt loyal to BT.


73% stayed with TalkTalk because they thought it offers the best price.

15% of customers say they stay a customer of the company because they feel it’s the best.

Sky Broadband

23% said they stayed a Sky customer simply because they like the company.

21% said they believe other providers will be worse than Sky.

9% said they felt loyal to Sky.

Interestingly the ISP with the longest standing customers of all was found to be Virgin Media, where 79% had been subscribed for more than 5 years. By comparison 23% of BT’s customers had been signed up for less than 2 years. We should add that Virgin Media is on a completely separate cable network (BT is on Openreach with lots of other ISPs), tends to receive fewer complaints than BT, has a better established TV platform and the fastest widely available service speeds.

Otherwise there was no surprise to find that price was the reason why most of TalkTalk’s customers stayed loyal, although it’s worth noting that they’re often battling rivals like Vodafone for the crown of cheapest national broadband provider. In some areas consumers may also be able to access cheaper FTTH providers, such as Hyperoptic. Sadly the above survey wasn’t big enough to consider the wider market picture.

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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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16 Responses
  1. Avatar Kits

    I actually completed this survey but presume I was the only person using Aquiss who did. Been with them over 10 years cannot falt them as a company left VM after 20 years when the final years became total farce.

  2. Avatar george

    Or they are terrified the phone number they have relied on for decades will disappear into an impenetrable bureaucracy and how will they call to sort it out if their line stops working? Or the indecipherable terms and conditions and opaque options defeat them with the prices which vary moment to moment and change depending which site you visit from and what voucher/cashback/ free toy you may possibly get if its honoured. Let alone who actually still supplies email services (or blocks them), who throttles or lacks bandwith capacity. Face it most of us who do move are going blindly mostly on hope.

    I wonder if people were able to own their phone numbers, telephone lines always had to be kept live and connected at least to 999, the operator and customer services and everyone paid the same fixed prices without secret offers, haggling and rebates, and 90 day maximum contracts if the market would become more competitive or just more expensive? Does no one remember when an 18 month contract was considered unusually excessive.

    Or in my case having actually persuaded my isp to reveal my end of contract date I moved to a Vodafone offer. Two weeks later I checked on the order and they finally admitted that despite confirming the order they then secretly cancelled it? I am now trying a month later to move to plus.net, will it work? Will I get the £60 reward card and the £30 cashback advertised? Let alone if it will work or if they will be convinced to fix it if it stops.

    And of course the biggest joke is those of us on rural exchanges (no talktalk here) are basically rotating between the same companies all owned by BT!

    But yes it has put me in a grumpy mood.

  3. Avatar Malcolm

    I haven’t moved because I currently get around 5.5mb and all the other deals only guarantee between 3 and 4mb – no fibre available in the area

  4. Avatar Ferrocene Cloud

    I stick with Virgin Media because I essentially do not have any choice. I can pay them for 350Mbps which I actually get, or pay BT the same money to get 2Mbps which is not good enough.

    Now if OR do an FTTP overbuild, or an altnet comes along I’ll jump ship as soon as I can.

    • Avatar Matthew

      I agree with you the depressing thing is there 500mbps service is only available to vvip customer witch I would be OK joining and getting the sim and the extra TV box all channels for 99 pound one proplem thow my cab doesn’t have it so I’m stuck on 350mbps witch I get maybe more most of time and only slightly less or. On the dot at peek time so can’t complain about that I can complain however in trying to make me pay more when the new service is still not available to me but is across the road same area two post codes devide from hear to shops not even a minute away 🙁 thay can’t tell me when it will become available so not got my hopes up also thay reckon by 2021 everyone on virgin will have access to 1gbps but that remains to be sence as that’s a tall order and going by the fact I still can’t get 500mbps I’m still not hopeful prove me wrong virgin restore my hope 🙂 have a lovey day everyone

  5. Avatar Mike

    Switching between Sky and NowTV is best if your stuck on OR FTTC, get the new customer offer every time you switch between them, both use same router and backhaul network.

  6. Avatar James Matthews

    Swap to save money – BT £55 per month for Fibre BT Infinity 2 vs Plusnet for £34 for the same speed service.

    Ring BT to advise cancellation, they say oh we can match that. Tired of that so said ‘why didn’t you offer it earlier?’ – No great answer so left them.

    Tired of companies thinking of taking advance when you’re out of contract.

  7. Avatar Craig

    Don’t forget about us Hullensians who don’t have much choice! KCOM or terrible wireless broadband. At least we have FTTP now

  8. Avatar Malcolm

    Just remember that NOWTV won’t supply you if you can’t get fast broadband- I am with Sky and get 5.5mb and NOWTV say they are not able to supply me

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      Well Sky will only supply you if you are on an exchange they support – I can’t get Sky or NowTV (or Vodafone, or TalkTalk, or lots of others).

  9. Avatar dave

    I’m on an exchange with no Talk Talk, Sky or anything other than BT wholesale. Since BT give me a very good price, I stay with them rather than switching to one of their other brands 😛

  10. Avatar

    Been with Virgin for 28 years. Started to work for them so I could constantly get a better deal without actually phoning, and get paid to be with them as well.
    Best of both.

  11. Avatar Optimist

    VM is not the cheapest but its banwidth is more than adequate for my needs and it is generally reliable.

    I also prefer be connected by underground cables rather than copper wires hung from ugly wooden poles, not only unsightly but a potential conduit for damaging lightning strikes.

  12. Avatar Janis

    I left Sky for TalkTalk years ago, just to prove thet I do not need engineer and evertything is fine with my PC, sockets and my resets does not solve their problems. I was right, no more disconnects every 5-10mins.
    I left TalkTalk for OneStream because of capped maximum speed of 6.8Mbps. OneStream offer is 1.5 times cheaper and speed reaches 9Mbps occasionaly and minimum 7.2.
    I would definitely stay with TalkTalk, if they would make offers (still more expensive than little riavl – OneStream offered) before my decision to leave goes to action.
    When OneStream contract comes to end, I will look for fibre deals. Os currently can not supply my address with fibre 🙁

  13. Avatar RICK

    Leaving Zen for UNO as they are cheaper (ADSL 2+ £18.49) compared to Zen (currently paying £42.50 for Zen)
    previous providers : CO-OP , ORIGIN , PLUSNET , BT , TALK TALK – had internet since 2003 – Am downgrading from FTTC to ADSL to cut costs

  14. Avatar Mel

    I’ve been swapping provider every year, this year was the first time I signed up to an 18 month contract, and I’d expect to be off at the end of that.

    Doing that I benefit from introductory prices and cashback deals.

    Been swapping between BT, sky and now fibre, and am currently with plusnet, and got a pile of routers to prove it! 😀

    About the best deal I’ve had was a “fibre” (FTTC) and line rental deal, which worked out costing a total of less than £60 after cashback, introductory price, pre-paid debit card and gift vouchers.

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