Just how is the UK doing in terms of broadband provision and which are the best ISPs? We partnered with Broadband Genie to survey more than 10,000 UK broadband users to find the best ISPs for innovation, performance and value. You can read the full report here: What's the best broadband ISP in the UK? The UK's fastest, cheapest ISPs in 2014.
Combined with the expertise of PC Advisor, Broadband Genie and our panel of broadband industry experts this gives us a unique snapshot of Broadband Britain in 2014.
Here we'll examine UK consumers' experience of broadband, and what we hope for in the future. And we'll also reward excellence in UK broadband, crowning the best ISPs for speed, reliability, innovation, customer satisfaction and value.
Of our survey respondents the 68 percent were on ADSL broadband, 20 percent on fibre, and around 12 percent with cable.
Only 12 percent of those surveyed said they wouldn't recommend their broadband supplier. 51 percent would recommend their ISP as 'satisfactory' and 17 percent went as far as to describe their ISP as 'top rate'.
According to PC Advisor readers the most important factor on which to judge an ISP is 'Speed', followed by 'Price'.
Let's take a look at the best of the current crop of ISPs.
Our most recommended ISPs are Plusnet and Virgin. But the picture was positive across the board. Only in the cases of Primus and Be Broadband did a third of respondents actively say they wouldn't recommend their provider.
It was a similar story when it came to customer care. We were delighted to see four providers had more than 60 percent wholly satisfied customers. And the winner? Step forward once again Plusnet.
Another key factor is the price you pay to receive such service. Here Plusnet was again the winner, its customers paying an average of only £13 a month for their broadband.
In terms of reliability, Virgin Media is the best of the best, with a staggering 80 percent approval rate, and fewer than 10 percent of customers left unsatisfied. Plusnet again kept up its strong showing with a credible second place.
And what then, of speed, the most important factor for UK broadband users when selecting an ISP. We measured this two ways, both in terms of customer satisfaction and the speed tests the survey respondents submitted.
In the case of the former, once again Virgin Media leads the way, with a whopping 82 percent of customers expressing their happiness with the rapid internet fired down cables to their homes. BT with its fibre networks also made a strong showing here. Another fibre operator, Plusnet, also performed well here.
These results were repeated when we looked at the speed tests themselves. Virgin Media took the award for fastest broadband, as befits the network that offers the fastest advertised speeds in the country. Plusnet was a close second, with BT just behind. If you want speed, you need to upgrade from ADSL if you can.
We decided to make some overall ISP awards for 2014.
Highly commended UK ISP for 2014: Virgin Media
The fastest ISP, both in terms of overall speed tests and user satisfaction, it is perhaps unfair on Virgin that we have to pick a winner. Indeed, the survey results show that Virgin Media users are just as happy as are Plusnet customers: that is, very happy indeed. As well as speed, Virgin's cable technology provides the most reliable network, but you do get what you pay for in this regard, and Virgin Media is one of the more expensive ISPs.
Best UK ISP of 2014: Plusnet
Plusnet is fast, and cheap, and its customer service is second to none. It was a close-run thing but we have to award Plusnet our overall best broadband ISP award. It is only marginally slower than Virgin, and a lot cheaper. Indeed, it was the cheapest broadband provider that made our shortlist, offering the best customer care and performing well in every category.
You can read Broadband Genie's Broadband Report here.
You may also be interested in our companion pieces, How good is public Wi-Fi? We test The Cloud, BT and O2; UK's best mobile networks tested and Best mobile platform for working on the move?