Brits increasingly unhappy with their broadband services

Thursday, 10 May, 2018

According to Ofcom’s annual broadband and mobile service quality report, one-in-five people were dissatisfied with their broadband service last year, compared to one-in-ten in 2016.

Ofcom polled 6,700 people online about complaint handling by the major broadband providers and mobile operators and found that satisfaction among them was below all other sectors in the UK, including gas, electricity and landline.

TalkTalk was the worst offender with 28% of people unhappy with the quality of their services. Only 40% of customers of the beleaguered ISP were happy with how their complaints were dealt with. While Plusnet received the highest rating for satisfaction with 86%.

TalkTalk has consistently topped polls as the worst broadband provider. And recently TalkTalk decided to move away from its mobile phone business to concentrate on broadband.

In the case of TalkTalk, which scores poorly in terms of a range of customer service measures, there’s a feeling that the provider has struggled to redress its public image since the high-profile data breach of 2015.

- Ewan Taylor-Gibson: telecoms expert,

Dissatisfaction with how providers dealt with complaints was high across the survey. In the poll more than half expressed unhappiness with their service, while 47% said the same for their mobile providers’ complaints procedure.

Notable exceptions included Sky and EE that performed above average in how they dealt with complaints, with six-in-ten expressing happiness.

That bane of our life, waiting on the telephone varied across providers with Plusnet customers having to wait the longest, close to eight minutes, in contrast EE customers waited, on average just 45 seconds.

People often focus on price when they’re choosing a phone or broadband provider. But there is are big differences in the customer service offered by providers.

We’re encouraging people to look beyond the price and consider customer service too. In such a competitive market, companies simply can’t afford to let their service standards slip.

If they don’t up their game, customers can vote with their feet.

- Lindsey Fussell: Consumer group director, Ofcom

When it came to mobile phone services, people were generally in a happier place. Just 10% expressed dissatisfaction. Compared with other sectors, mobile customer satisfaction was above gas, electricity and landline customers.

The two providers that ranked higher than average for customer satisfaction were Giffgaff and Tesco Mobile. Those that polled below average were Virgin Mobile and Vodafone.

With overall broadband speeds improving all the time, people are now doing more with their internet services. As a consequence, customers expect a lot more from their providers. It seems from Ofcom’s survey our providers have a long way to go before a subsequent improvement in the customer experience is equal to the advancements in technology.

Image: Stacey Harris & Alpha Stock Images

Tim Bamford author picture


Tim is a veteran freelance journalist writing extensively on internet news and cybersecurity.