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Smaller UK Broadband ISPs Beat BIG Providers in Which? Ranking

Thursday, Mar 28th, 2024 (12:01 am) - Score 2,040
golden cup broadband and telecoms award

Consumer magazine Which? has today published the results of their latest 2024 ranking of home broadband providers, which found that smaller ISPs like CommunityFibre, Zen Internet and Hyperoptic topped the table and eclipsed the biggest providers that now mostly inhabit the bottom half of the table.

The latest ranking is based on a survey of 4,471 people who had a contract for home broadband in December 2023 and January 2024. The survey itself typically asked respondents to rate each provider across several different categories, including speed, reliability, value for money, ease of contacting, customer service, ease of setup, overall communication and technical support.

The broadband providers were also awarded an overall customer score (%), which is usually based on customer satisfaction and likelihood to recommend. Overall, the highest rated provider (customer score) was London ISP CommunityFibre on 71%, although they failed to secure Which?’s “Recommended Provider” gong because only ISPs that support Ofcom’s speed code and automatic compensation schemes are eligible for that.

The Recommended Provider for 2024 was thus named as Zen Internet, which on a score of 70% was only slightly behind CommunityFibre. After that came Hyperoptic (68%), which also scooped an award for being Great Value. By comparison, most of the biggest providers could be found languishing in the bottom half of the table.

Which?’s Recommended Broadband ISPs for H1 2024
CommunityFibre – 71%
Hyperoptic – 68% (GREAT VALUE)
Utility Warehouse – 67%
EE Broadband – 66%
Vodafone – 65%
Plusnet – 64%
TalkTalk – 63%
BT – 62%
NOW Broadband (NOW TV) – 62%
Shell Energy – 59%
Sky Broadband – 57%
Virgin Media – 56%

Which? has only published a basic summary of their results in public and if you want the full details – showing scores across all the categories – then you’ll need to go out and buy their magazine.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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20 Responses
  1. Avatar photo lee says:

    I wonder how useful this is for people? Im sure Zen are great, but arent they predominantly in Manchester, im not how useful that is for most people who have maybe 1 or if they are lucky 2 options.

    The classic Ogilvy line comes to mind: “People don’t think what they feel, don’t say what they think and don’t do what they say”

    1. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      Zen have offered nationwide service for years over the BT Wholesale and Openreach networks, and have spent some time and money building their own network to eliminate the BT Wholesale part.

      That said, based on my last experience as a customer, I wouldn’t give them my “recommended provider” award.

    2. Avatar photo Jon Bono says:

      You do realise Zen use TalkTalk for all of their backhaul between exchanges?

    3. Avatar photo The Edge says:

      Jon Bono that’s not true anymore, for over a year now, no more TTB

    4. Avatar photo I'm at Zen and I was an F(em) says:

      Zen are everywhere Openreach, BT Wholesale, or Cityfibre are. We’re not just in Rochdale and we binned off Talk talk wholesale connections due to their dreadfully slow fault system. Raise a fault and wait upto 6 hours for them to confirm when the engineer is booked for. Good luck getting an engineer for a customer for the next morning if it’s after 4pm. Or, they’d book the engineer for next day but only after we’d closed for the evening and would have no way of letting the customer know.

      BT Wholesale or Openreach faults usually give us an engineer booking right away. Cityfibre are a bit slower but generally their engineers reach out to customers to book the visits and are still quicker to respond than Talktalk.

  2. Avatar photo Billy Shears says:

    As a long standing Zen customer I absolutely back up Ivor’s comment. My dissatisfaction is such that I would leave right now were it not for the impending arrival of an altnet. Once I can get a connection with them I’m off.

    Oh, and you can’t “go out and buy a copy of their magazine” you have to subscribe/be a member or whatever they call it, which has been repeatedly condemned over the years as being a non consumer friendly practice and completely at odds with their claim to be a consumer champion. I suppose it was their members that they canvassed.

    1. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      Out of interest Billy are you on Openreach or City Fibre with Zen? By your comment I’m guessing Openreach, in that case is it FTTC or FTTP?

    2. Avatar photo Billy Shears says:

      OR with FTTC.

    3. Avatar photo Just a thought says:

      Membership is what pays for all the product testing and surveys and journalism.
      They can, therefore, claim a high independence from advertising and the risk that their reviews could be accused of bias towards the biggest donor.
      It’s like a newspaper with a paywall, there are some snippets given away as a promotion for what they do, if you want the full results you pay. If you can think of a better way of independent funding, maybe drop them a line.

    4. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      I was also OR FTTC, but it’s telling that my issues with Zen never occured on any other ISP I used on that line.

      As for JAT’s remarks – magazines like Private Eye seem to manage to remain independent through a mix of subscription revenue, people just buying it in shops, and yes some advertising. Why can’t Which sell individual copies – even at a considerably higher price to encourage subscriptions?

  3. Avatar photo Anthony says:

    I would love to know what Sky is doing wrong for it to come below Shell and TalkTalk.

    1. Avatar photo Billy Shears says:

      Well they only asked 4,471 people, presumably all Which members. My stats isn’t good enough and I don’t know all of the numbers but out of several million broadband customers that is surely statistically insignificant.

    2. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      It’s hard to understand the disparity between EE & BT, you would have thought they’d have been about the same. I’ve been with BT for most of the last 22 years through ADSL, VDSL and for the last 2 1/2 years FTTP. So far I’ve only ever had 1 problem about 10 years ago which took several visits to fix.

      I’ve looked at changing several times but I find that if I do things that were included with BT (like the free Norton security) I would then have to buy myself plus I’ve invested in things like the excellent advanced digital handsets around the house which would then be rendered obsolete, plus at the minute you get a proper IPV4 public IP address and IPV6’s been standard for the last 8 years.

    3. Avatar photo JimB says:

      Big Dave,
      I wouldn’t use Norton if they paid me to use it. It is absolutely awful. You will get better protection using Windows Defender which is free and a lot more lightweight. A number of the smaller ISPs offer free static IPv4 addresses including Zen. I would also trust the numerous personal reviewsregarding Zen than a potential socket puppet account on a forum. I moved from BT after being lied to and cheated to Zen and they have been fantastic over the last 10 years.

    4. Avatar photo Billy Shears says:

      @Jimb Zen used to be brilliant but I’ve had three bad experiences with them this year. It would take too long to type them all but I was left on my own to fix a supposed IP blacklisting problem and I was led to believe that I had to sign up to a new 12 month contract re digital voice, something I don’t want to do with an altnet in the offing. I learnt more about Zen digital voice from a thread on TBB than I did from Zen’s email, faq, video and a phone call

  4. Avatar photo j karna says:

    Community Fibre’s customer service department used to be good.
    It has now been outsourced to CCI Enterprises DMCC, South Africa, with redundancies in the U.K. If you are unfortunate to have an issue, then you
    will experience total incompetence from the South African representatives.

    1. Avatar photo Clearmind60 says:

      I see your point, but is so far much better than the indian based “tech” “support” that virgin media use.

    2. Avatar photo j karna says:

      I was previously with Virgin, and I experienced the Indian script jockeys.
      I thought I had left incompetence, but I was wrong,
      CF is now the Talktalk of Altnet.
      I recorded the phone calls with the outsourced CF representatives,
      and the lies presented……….

  5. Avatar photo Brian says:

    Wasn’t there a time when only the top would win and the old top scores were around the 90% mark?

  6. Avatar photo Clearmind60 says:

    j karna

    I understand, sadly getting good customer services in the UK is virtually impossible due to outsourcing.
    I read on another forum that a VM customer went from their SH3 to SH5. Very soon afterwards scam calls were being received from india. But the anti scam you-tubers who can prove money laundering from Western based money mules never get prosecuted.

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