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The UK Best Home Broadband ISP Options for 2020 by ISPreview

Monday, January 6th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 33,009

As we always say, the trouble with choosing a cheap ISP (Page 1) is that you may have to tolerate congested networks (slower speeds), fewer advanced service features (e.g. dynamic instead of static IP addresses) and customer support teams who treat you more like a number than a person.

Nevertheless not all providers are built the same and some can deliver a much higher quality of service. The downside is that you often have to pay a higher price in order to receive such an improvement (i.e. a good ISP will put more of its profits back into their network, support and services). However, please remember, no service is perfect and even the best providers can suffer problems.

The last point above is particularly relevant for the many providers on Openreach’s network, where switching to another ISP on the same platform may not necessarily get any underlying infrastructure problems fixed at a faster rate (doing this may even be counter-productive to the fault resolution process).

Best UK Home Broadband ISPs for Quality

It’s perhaps no coincidence that the best providers also tend to be the smallest players, which is partly because they place a higher value on each user and can thus deliver a more personal customer relationship. The following page reflects a list of ISPs that generally appear to place quality and reliability above the mass market desire for lower pricing.

On these providers you may pay a bit more but you’re also far more likely to come across better trained UK support teams, advanced features (Static IP addresses etc.), shorter contracts, less filtering of your internet connection, faster fault resolution times and so forth. However a lot of smaller ISPs will expect you to use your own third-party router.

All packages offer unlimited usage, unless otherwise stated.

NOTE: Most of these won’t support Ofcom’s various voluntary schemes (broadband speed code, automatic compensation etc.) due to the high cost of implementation, but on the flip side with these you may be less likely to need them.
Setup: £19.99 – £55 Type: OR ADSL, FTTC, G.fast, FTTP Top Plan: 300Mbps

Entry-Level Package Examples

Superfast: Average Speed 35Mbps – £29.99 a month

Ultrafast: Average Speed 145Mbps – £49.99 a month

Supports 2018 Speed Code: No
Ofcom Automatic Compensation: Yes

Zen has always been one of the best rated ISPs on ISPreview.co.uk (Zen’s Reviews) and they’re often seen hoovering up awards on other sites too, which is impressive given that they’re one of the markets oldest providers. Most others would have gone through a lot of ups and downs but Zen have always been a beacon of stability in otherwise choppy waters.

Much of this is thanks to having a good balance of reasonably priced and good quality packages, as well as technically competent UK customer support. On top of that they’ve recently introduced a Lifetime Price Guarantee, which they say guarantees no price rises on your current package for as long as a customer stays with them.

Zen also has a good selection of G.fast and FTTP based ultrafast broadband packages for home users. All of their services also include a Static IP address and just for good measure they even bundle in a very capable FRITZ!Box 7530 router from AVM, which tends to be popular with more advanced users due to its many features.

Pros:
• One of the only smaller ISPs to support Ofcom’s auto compensation
• Prices and the lifetime price guarantee
• Support
• Good router
• Static IPv4 and IPv6 addresses

Cons:
• No Pay TV or Mobile plans – but that’s all we can think of.
• Doesn’t support Ofcom’s speed code

Setup: £0 – £90 Type: OR ADSL, FTTC, G.fast, FTTP Top Plan: 300Mbps

Entry-Level Package Examples

Superfast: Average Speed 36Mbps – £40.80 a month

Ultrafast: Average Speed 145Mbps – £49.80 a month

Supports 2018 Speed Code: No
Ofcom Automatic Compensation: No

Many of the positive remarks made about Zen above could also be attributed to iDNET. As an ISP they have a long history of providing good quality services and UK support, as well as being fairly affordable. Over the years they’ve built up an extremely strong reputation (IDNet Reviews) and pledge to “guarantee no contention on our network, no throttling, no traffic shaping & no port blocking.,” as well as a “Low Latency Guarantee.”

On top of all that you also get a Static IP address and their FTTC (VDSL2) packages can also be taken alongside a 1 month contract term. You also get a good selection of G.fast and FTTP based ultrafast broadband packages. The only real negative is that they don’t provide the option of a “free” (bundled) broadband router with their packages.

Pros:
• Speed
• Support
• Static IP addresses (IPv6 support)
• Commitment to low latency and no contention
• 1 Month contracts on ADSL and FTTC

Cons:
• No bundled router
• Doesn’t support Ofcom’s speed code or auto compensation

AAISP (Andrews & Arnold)
Setup: £0 – £100 Type: OR ADSL, FTTC, G.fast, FTTP Top Plan: 145Mbps

Entry-Level Package Examples

Superfast (300GB usage): Average Speed 66Mbps – £45 a month

Ultrafast (300GB usage): Average Speed 145Mbps – £40 a month

Supports 2018 Speed Code: No
Ofcom Automatic Compensation: No

The lack of unlimited usage allowances may discourage some people (but they do offer 2 TeraByte allowances) and so too might their higher prices, but that would be to ignore just how extraordinarily brilliant Andrews & Arnold can be as an ISP. Unlike most providers they employ skilled IT staff for UK support and the management will often go out of their way to help resolve customer problems.

A quick glance at the recent AAISP Reviews from our readers should tell you all you need to know and generally speaking this provider will aim to give you the best possible service quality for your connection type. We also like the fact that since last year they’ve cleaned up their website and made it much easier for ordinary consumers to understand. On top of that they also offer some G.fast and FTTP based ultrafast broadband services.

Pros:
• Support
• Quality / Speed
• Choice of 1, 6 or 12 month contracts
• Static IPv4 and block of IPv6 addresses

Cons:
• Price
• No unlimited usage plans

CiX (formerly ICUK)
Setup: £0 – £116.40 Type: OR ADSL, FTTC, G.fast, FTTP Top Plan: 300Mbps

Entry-Level Package Examples

Superfast: Average Speed 36Mbps – £37.99 a month

Ultrafast: Average Speed 145Mbps – £52 a month

Supports 2018 Speed Code: No
Ofcom Automatic Compensation: No

Until a rebrand CiX was perhaps better known as ICUK and is a provider that has a very long and well established history of providing good quality web hosting service, as well as broadband and phone packages (CiX’s Reviews). In recent years they’ve also added an array of “ultrafast broadband” packages using G.fast and FTTP technology on Openreach’s network.

Pros:
• Support
• Reasonable pricing
• Service quality

Cons:
• No static IP addresses like others on this page
• No bundled router
• No pay TV or mobile plans

Freeola (GetDotted)
Setup: £0 – £58.50 Type: OR ADSL, FTTC, G.fast, FTTP Top Plan: 300Mbps

Entry-Level Package Examples

Superfast: Average Speed 35Mbps – £33.98 a month

Ultrafast: Average Speed 150Mbps – £52.98 a month

Supports 2018 Speed Code: No
Ofcom Automatic Compensation: No

This provider has been around for awhile (Freeola Reviews) and last year saw them became one of the first ISPs to launch a G.fast based “ultrafast broadband” product. Since then they’ve also added FTTP packages and all of these services appear to be quite reasonably priced.

Other highlights that customers can expect to receive are UK based support, DDoS protection, website hosting, email, a static IP address (IPv4) and a 1 or 12 month contract term. On top of that they’re also one of the few who can offer so-called “silent line rental” (i.e. no paid outgoing voice calls), which effectively means you get a standalone internet connection without the phone service (slightly cheaper).

Pros:
• Support
• Good set of extras
• Service quality
• Silent line rental (likely to be replaced by SOGEA in the future)

Cons:
• No bundled router (only discounts)
• No pay TV or mobile plans

Setup: £0 Type: OR ADSL, FTTC, FTTP Top Plan: 67Mbps

Entry-Level Package Examples

Superfast: Average Speed 35Mbps – £30 a month

Supports 2018 Speed Code: No
Ofcom Automatic Compensation: No

Aquiss has a long history of being a broadly well rated provider on ISPreview (Aquiss Reviews), which is due to strong UK based customer support, reasonable prices and a good general level of service reliability. Subscribers will also receive a static IP address and their FTTC packages usually include free activation. You can also get phone line rental from £15 per month.

On top of that they also sell FTTP services but at the time of writing you can only order these at “superfast” rather than “ultrafast” speeds. On the plus side their data-only FTTP packages are much better value than their FTTC options.

Pros:
• Speed
• Support
• Static IPv4 and IPv6 address

Cons:
• Price
• No pay TV or mobile plans
• No Ultrafast plans.. yet

Before moving on to the final page we would like to add that there were several other providers which caught our eye for the quality section this year – Cerberus Networks, Pulse8, Trunk Networks (Leetline) and uno – but we didn’t have enough feedback from different sources to include them. Sadly this is one of the challenges with gauging smaller providers.

Please continue on Page 3 to view some of the best Alternative Network (AltNet) providers, which have built their own networks..

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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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