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Broadband ISPs that Cause UK Consumers the Most Stress Named

Friday, October 30th, 2020 (9:00 am) - Score 17,448
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A new survey from Broadband Genie, which used a special tool to analyse and estimate the consumer stress levels of 305,568 tweets that were aimed at major UK broadband ISPs, has revealed which providers had the most stressed customers. Overall it’s bad news for Shell Energy, but good news for Hyperoptic.

The data was gathered from the Twitter handles of the UK’s major broadband providers between 1st January 2020 and 25th September 2020. After that it was analysed by the TensiStregth tool, developed by Mike Thelwall, Professor of IT at Wolverhampton University.

The new tool essentially attempts to estimate the stress levels in short texts based on the classification of words related to stress, frustration, anxiety, anger and negativity. The scale used to measure stress levels is approximately as follows: -1 (no stress), -2 (low stress), -3 (moderate stress), -4 (high stress), -5 (extreme stress).

Admittedly by examining bulk data like this we may lose some of the context and the study cannot accurately confirm whether all of the tweets were from actual customers. On top of that the results for some providers, such as Shell, the Post Office (telecoms division), Direct Save Telecom and a few others, should be taken with a pinch of salt due to the low amount of data samples.

Nevertheless, this is an interesting study, partly because we haven’t seen anything quite like it before. Overall, the analysis found that 36.7% of tweets about Shell were classed as “stressed” to some degree. At the other end of the spectrum, Hyper optic delivered the lowest split of stressed tweets (13.4%) and NOW TV (NOW Broadband) isn’t far behind on 14.2%.

ISP Name Total Tweets Percentage of stressed tweets (3 4 5s)
Shell Energy (Shell Broadband) 267 36.7%
Post Office 490 35.3%
Plusnet 4,677 32.9%
Sky Broadband 15,275 31.1%
Virgin Media 68,206 28.3%
TalkTalk 28,782 27.1%
BT 50,192 23.9%
Origin Broadband 626 23.6%
Vodafone 44,730 22.2%
Direct Save Telecom 19 21.1%
KCOM 436 20.4%
Zen Internet 882 17.2%
EE 66,303 17%
NOW TV (NOW Broadband) 23,966 14.2%
Hyperoptic 717 13.4%

A Spokesperson for Shell Energy said: “We strive to deliver excellent customer service, alongside fast, reliable and great value broadband. This was recently recognized by Resolver who ranked us excellent for customer service, indicating that our customers are satisfied. While this research shows only a very small number of customers are frustrated, we take it seriously and something we continue to focus on improving.”

UPDATE 12:06pm

Plusnet has issued the following comment.

A Plusnet spokesperson said:

“We work hard to provide customers with great service from our UK based call centres. Ofcom recently reported that Plusnet customers had the best experience across the broadband market with 93% of customers satisfied overall with our service. We will take on board these results and continue to improve the service we provide.”

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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.
Leave a Comment
15 Responses
  1. JitteryPinger says:

    So it was Virgin really.

    1. Buggerlugz says:

      Yes, it indeed was. Who’d have thought!!!!!!

  2. Mr.Goggles says:

    Forget the % and headline of Shell Energy as worst… they’ve basically got the fewest tweets.

    Be more interesting to see tweets/total customer base %.
    Further still not everyone twits so overall kind of useless info.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      “Be more interesting to see tweets/total customer base %”

      Agreed, although the catch there is that most of the listed ISPs will not reveal how many customers they have.

    2. cdh1981 says:

      “Further still not everyone twits”

      Reading some particular broadband related forums, you’d be forgiven if you thought this wasn’t the case!

  3. Gregory Berry says:

    Not surprised by Plusnet to be honest, their billing has been abysmal and they just aren’t doing enough to fix it.

  4. Pezza says:

    ‘Stressed tweets’ lol…. whatever next? Think going by official complaints numbers is better..

  5. Buggerlugz says:

    See they didn’t bother with mobile internet. (No prizes for guessing who’d win that accolade.)

  6. Davy Mac says:

    Love to know how to contact virgin media to cancel my contract keep trying to phone no joy would like to have address to write to them in Scotland thanks for any help.

    1. Qws says:

      0345 454 1111, 1, 3, 4 – wait for however long the queue is.

    2. JitteryPinger says:

      Choices there to write to them or submit a complaint online


    3. John Bennett says:

      Virgin are absolutely diabolical, I had been paying £130 for tv, broadband & phone package, and I have had nothing but trouble with the service and the package, I’m clocking no more than 0.12mps in my bathroom????? I also have a WiFi extender outside the bathroom door lol. And I’m paying for that!!!!! So I’ve cancelled my package and funny enough they’ve offered me a discount of £60 per month, so all this time I’ve been paying £130 they can now offer me a discount because I’m leaving them. It’s no surprise really considering how s**t they are. I love watching films whilst soaking in the bath, and they couldn’t even get a signal in my bathroom, my house is a modest end of terrace 3 bedroom house, not Buckingham palace, it’s no wonder Virgin are experiencing massive problems at the moment.

  7. Roy Greenwood says:

    Congratulations to Virgin again top of the list
    Well don’t surprise me ,took 74 texts and two days to get a phone removed from my account,and it took 3 years for them to still not understand that the hub three is a bag of spanners
    So coming the highest in a stress test was inevitable

  8. R S says:

    For all people complaining about WiFi coverage, it’s the same with all providers. Tip: have a look at buying Nest WiFi for better coverage.

  9. CLARKE PITTS says:

    I am having a shocking time with TalkTalk. I don’t tweet so they are sheltered from my ire in that respect. I absolutely hate them at this point and they could promise me anything and never see me as a customer again. That there could be worse providers (in terms of customer service) is staggering.

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