We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Broadband Survey 2009: 14 best UK ISPs

PC Advisor's verdict on Broadband Britain

Frustrating at times but impossible to live without, web access is too vital to settle for sub-standard service. PC Advisor analyses what 6,500 of you had to say about your broadband experiences, which ISPs are best, and how to get cheaper broadband.

Broadband survey 2009: ISP report cards


Star ratingAOL used to be the internet service you used when you first discovered the internet. In fact, for many years, PC Advisor carried the AOL setup disc on its cover so you could get online and get yourself an internet subscription. These days, it’s rather a faded star, offering only fairly standard broadband deals with a discount if you also take its parent company The Carphone Warehouse’s TalkTalk landline phone service.

Despite being bought by Carphone Warehouse three years ago, the AOL brand persists and a solid number of survey respondents told us they continue to be customers. Almost all AOL broadband customers are exclusively PC users and it seems many of you enjoy either very generous or unlimited broadband for between £10 and £15 a month.

While offering good value, AOL wasn’t the most highly recommended of ISPs – only half of its customers in our survey said they’d recommend it to a friend. Some AOL customers reported problems accessing the BBC’s iPlayer services, while others claimed they were penalised for living in remote locations.

On the flip side, several customers gleefully told us that having been with AOL for a number of years they get unrestricted downloads and happily do their best to make full use of untrammelled web access.

Boost your broadband - useful links:

Be Broadband

Star ratingBe arrived with a bang in 2005, offering very fast connections to a select number of customers. The Scandinavian firm provided only ADSL2 connections and installed its own equipment in its chosen exchanges. This immediately did away with the 'it’s all BT's fault' argument often cited by ISPs, but also revived the whole issue of the digital divide in terms of fast broadband. It was initially only urban telephone exchanges that were enabled by Be – any other strategy would have been commercial suicide.

These days, more than 1,240 exchanges contain Be’s ADSL2+ hardware and the ISP is able to offer up to 30Mbps connections to around 22 percent of the country. Be Broadband customers had the greatest concentration of 20Mbps+ connections, despite the domination of Virgin Media in this survey.

If you want really fast broadband and can’t get cable, Be is worth looking into.

It’s also worth noting that Be is now owned by 02, so there’s a chance that by choosing O2 you may eventually get switched to a faster but not necessarily so stable Be ADSL2+ connection.

RecommendedBe Broadband gets a PC Advisor ISP Awards 2009 Recommended Award.

NEXT: BT & BT Yahoo >>

Broadband Advisor

Broadband Survey 2009 index:

  1. PC Advisor readers' verdict on Broadband Britain
  2. Our survey says…
  3. ISP reviews: AOL & Be Broadband
  4. ISP reviews: BT & BT Yahoo
  5. ISP reviews: Demon & O2
  6. ISP reviews: Orange & Pipex
  7. ISP reviews: Plusnet & Sky Broadband
  8. ISP reviews: Talk Talk & Tiscali
  9. ISP reviews: Virgin Media & Zen Internet
  10. Mobile broadband
  11. Better broadband for all
  12. Better broadband, shaping up
  13. Behind the scenes: a broadband call centre

Survey sponsored by Broadband Genie

IDG UK Sites

Sony Xperia Z3+ release date, price and specs: The Xperia Z4 for the UK

IDG UK Sites

Why Intel’s vision of the future is a future I want to live in

IDG UK Sites

10 amazing, creative uses of tech – and the brands behind them

IDG UK Sites

Jony Ive 'semi-retired' into new role: kicked upstairs as Chief Design Officer