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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.


Star ratingLike Zen and Plusnet, Demon is a familiar name in the UK broadband market, something owner Cable & Wireless is keen to retain. No stranger to the upper echelons of PC Advisor’s annual broadband survey, it once again scores well.

It was level pegging with Virgin Media, ranking fifth overall, with praise of the provider’s reliability and tech support among its notable successes. Since customer care and tech support are real bugbears of the internet industry, posting satisfaction ratings around the 80 percent mark is some achievement.

Download speeds don’t come up to snuff, but that’s a recurring theme with broadband in the UK. We were pleased to find good reports for the reliability of Demon’s web connection.

Boost your broadband - useful links:


Star ratingIt wasn’t a huge surprise to learn from our survey that the biggest overlap between broadband provider and mobile phone subscription was with O2. After all, O2 has the iPhone contract sewn up (at least for now) and offers discounts for O2 mobile subscribers to its broadband service, making it good value as a bundle.

As an indirect result, O2 was cited as the most common choice of broadband provider for Mac users, with nearly a quarter of all 02 customers who completed the survey stating that a Mac was their primary PC. In mixed Windows and Mac households O2 was also a common choice, whereas Virgin Media was criticised for its lack of out-of-the-box Mac support.

Given the popularity of the iPhone and the good rates for this two-year-old ISP, it wasn’t a surprise to find many people had made the switch from another provider and done so smoothly, with positive reports about the migration process. Connection reliability was among the best of all the ISPs evaluated. However, several respondents commented on the poor quality of the router provided, with security not enabled by default. Overall, though, the consensus is that O2 is a solid provider offering good speeds and great value.

If you sign up for O2 but live in an area where Be Broadband becomes available and its ADSL2+ service can offer faster connections, you’ll be able to use it. Be was bought by O2 in 2007, enabling it to roll out out its high-speed web connections faster – so far, it’s done so to more than a fifth of the UK.

Curiously, exactly the same proportion (64.8 percent) of 02 and Virgin customers said they were able to get close to or not far from the connection speed advertised by their ISP.

Best Buy ISPO2 is PC Advisor's Best Buy ISP 2009.

NEXT: Orange & Pipex >>

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

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