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Why do big broadband providers keep failing on service?  

home broadband

Our latest broadband satisfaction survey shows the biggest providers are consistently failing their customers on service. Why do these providers rank lowest and why do consumers continue to stand for it?

Today, we’ve released our latest results on customer satisfaction with broadband providers. The fact that it paints the same story as so many of our previous surveys is very telling; the bigger providers fall down on customer service.

For the fifth consecutive survey running, TalkTalk customers have given them the lowest customer score of 40% and Sky experienced the biggest drop of all of the providers since our last survey in April.

Best and worst broadband providers

Choosing provider

Why then, do consumers continue to choose these providers?

I would suggest they go with bigger providers for a number of reasons; reliability, convenience and choice.

On reliability, I think people can be prone to conflate a ‘well-known’ brand with a ‘trusted’ brand. Research like our surveys can hopefully dispel that.

On convenience, bundling packages could have more of an influence in your choice of provider than the broadband service itself.

A third reason is that there can be a lack of choice. In some areas where there is little or no infrastructure deployment, bigger providers may be the only option on offer.

Change needed

If providers continue to recruit and retain customers then there is little incentive for them to change their practice.

We have long argued that the switching process should be easier – both assisting consumers in moving to a new provider but applying pressure to providers to step up in order to retain their customers.

We’d like to hear from you. Why do you think the biggest providers continually come bottom of our satisfaction tables? And what do you think needs to happen to for them to step up and deliver?

Update: 20 October 2017

According to our latest research, more than half of households are still experiencing problems with their broadband.

Our latest customer satisfaction survey reveals that 53% of 1,700 surveyed had a problem with their broadband last year. Six out of 10 customers of Virgin Media (61%) and Talk Talk (60%) and over half of Sky (56%) and BT (54%) customers said their broadband had failed them at least once in that time.

Far too many people suffer poor service from their broadband provider. Problems range from slow speeds to lengthy losses in connection. This isn’t good enough. We continue to advise those dissatisfied with their service to switch.

We’ve campaigned for an end to confusing broadband ads that promise speeds many customers will never get. We think as many customers as possible, if not all, should get the speeds promised by providers. Currently, if these companies achieve just 10% they are deemed to have satisfied advertising rules and regulations.

Test your broadband speed using our free tool and help us build a better picture of the nation’s broadband health in the process.

Take the Which? Speed Test


I see Zen gets top marks but take into account Zen has nowhere near the same customer base than BT/SKY/Virgin etc therefore that skews the figures and that their customers arent those with long country runs of copper as they use BT lines not their own and their own literature say that it depends on distance as to speed etc the same as BT et al- what they do offer seems to be better service /fixed IP /UK customer help base and other benefits . On that score yes I have to admit they are better but just to say they provide an actual better speed/ reliability when they use BT lines doesn’t hold water as all external lines , except VM and some small companies usually London based , use BT lines so unless they use some magic of some sort distance and reliability is still in Openreach,s hands . I am afraid if they are being advertised as “God,s answer ” to rural customers well it isn’t the case . I am not condemning them only saying statistics can lie if not judged in perspective . That small shop in the village can offer excellent service but only to a relatively small area . The only way they can really be judged if their customer base takes in all the negative aspects of the rural phone dwellers .

Bill Kerr-Smith says:
23 September 2017

I absolutely agree with Duncan Lewis. I switched to Zen, after seeing the recommendation in Which?, in January. Since then, I have been constantly disappointed with the service, which fails completely at least once a week, usually at peak times, and at other times drops off badly, with serious latency issues. As the (BT) local distribution network has been upgraded to Fibre-to-the-Cabinet, I assumed the problems were with the router (which I bought from Zen) or with their backhaul provision. Two weeks ago, they finally agreed to replace the router. There is some improvement in service, but still the peak time problems. I cannot fault the helpfulness or courtesy of the tech support people, but I have spent hours on the phone to them, trying all manner of re-configurations of the router, factory re-setting and throttling my upload speeds (one suggestion was that my upload was preventing speedy downloads – there was no noticeable change after I put the brakes on).
We’re not exactly rural here, being in Dalkeith, the largest town in the fastest growing county in Scotland, so my conclusion is that Zen simply hasn’t engineered it’s backbone network to cope with demand outside major cities.

keirfree says:
23 September 2017

I too joined ZEN, on the Basis of the Which Recommendation, I had many problems with a continuous broadband service for months, only after hours of , phoning their support desk, ( in my opinion) not knowledgeable, visit from a B T Engineer, a router swop out, did they, accept the fact that their bad service, was nothing to do with my internal wiring, distances from my local telephone exchange etc, or any of the other <> !!
P S they did admit they are no longer using ZyXEL Router, as it takes to long to reboot, appx 1 minute in my experience. After the long awaited intervention of a Zen ( expert ) was my problem reduced to an acceptable level of service. Value for money ? not in my opinion!


Hi @Bill Kerr-Smith and @keirfree,

I just wanted to pick up on your comments regarding Zen Internet. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been experiencing some problems with their service.

I thought it would be useful to explain how we get the results we publish and what our recommendations are based on. The key thing to note is that our recommendation for service providers is based on our survey results which is completed by more than 10,000 customers. Before being considered for a Which? Recommended Provider, providers are required to achieve a minimum customer satisfaction score of 70%. Customer satisfaction score is based on ‘how likely the customer is to recommend the service to a friend or family member’. When this criteria is met, we’ll then review the providers price and tariffs to make sure they are reasonable.

We appreciate that not all customers would experience the same level of service and broadband speed from the providers, however, in our most recent broadband survey results; Zen internet did achieve 92% for their Customer satisfaction score. This was a pretty impressive score that put them at the top of our table. If you’re interested, you can read our survey and the results here – http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/broadband-deals/article/best-broadband-providers.

Interestingly, it sounds like the problems you’re experiencing are symptomatic of being part of Openreach’s network, as opposed to the provider’s service. That’s definitely something that is on our radar at the moment and we’re keen to look into. So thank you for commenting and giving us that insight!



I suspect much of Sky’s low rating is a historical view as there was a time when their customer service was the direst of the dire. We have been a satellite customer for over 20 years, then my o2 broadband was migrated to them.

I do think their customer service has improved a lot in the last few years. You no longer have to go through a bang-your-head-against-a-brick-wall exercise to fight a first line defence to talk to someone who might actually be able to help you.

A recent internet problem was sorted out reasonably well and they did send out an engineer who fixed the problem.

Sky routers do have a problem with Wi-Fi. We still had a connection out in the garden with an o2 router, but it struggles in the same room with the Sky router.

But Sky is let down by greed. They want you to have the whole package: satellite TV, phone and broadband and where they fall down badly is not letting you update any part of your package without updating and having the whole lot. Our phone is with BT.

When we had a problem with the internet I tried to update it to fibre. But I couldn’t have fibre unless I switched the phone to them, and we would be without phone and internet for at least a week which was completely unacceptable.

We enquired about upgrading to Sky Q but we can’t upgrade without switching our phone to them…..grrr

Another problem is the phone and TV is in my husband’s name, and the broadband in my name. They refuse to connect the accounts or put them both in the same name without taking out new contracts. Why should we have to enter new contracts with a company we have been customers of for years? I hate being forced into contracts especially when I have been a customer for so long.

So because of their greed, we have an inferior service that we are paying too much for because we don’t get a discount for having more than one product even though they promised the accounts would be linked when my broadband was migrated to them.

Sky are also losing out because if we could have upgraded the bits we wanted when we wanted, they would be getting more money out of us and we would have been happy customers.

The only reason we have stayed with Sky is their satellite TV which was excellent. But that is no longer the case.

We only have 3 series recording at the moment, Zoo, Colony and The Last Ship. We used to record so many series, we couldn’t keep up and they were queued up for the summer when most of them had a rest. But new series are not making their way to Sky, they are only available via Amazon or Netflix. TV & Satellite Weekly lists all the new series for the week, but most of them are not available on Sky. I was gutted when I found out the new Star Trek series was not going to be shown.

So why would we want to upgrade our broadband and get into a new contract with a company that no longer delivers?

If we do update our broadband, it won’t be with Sky, and if we get fibre we will no longer need satellite TV and that will be a great shame.


You have given me much info into the internal workings of Sky Alfa thanks. They are not alone in that if you want additional services you have to automatically re-contract BT do that as well . If I take out BT TV/their cell-net deal /etc it involves a contract for a year or so , at the moment I am out of contract and BT is shooting emails + snail mails to me nearly daily . Both my phone+broadband are with BT , they were very helpful when FTTC appeared and I was one of the first to get it so I cant complain on that score BT aren’t perfect but —in my view –they are not the worst by a long chalk . They don’t hold you to ransom like some , I have watched posters point bout all the chidden defects of those – “oh so wonderful ” alternatives to BT and then —after some years the penny drops.


We watch the same things, Alfa. Although Zoo seems increasingly riddled with logic issues…

And you’re spot on re: sky. They offered to supply us with two new Q boxes and do the installation for nowt the other day, as I was ringing up to replace a defective Sky HD+ box. Trouble is, they don’t teach their staff too well. Sky Q is 2TB, whereas we have two 2xTB boxes and, as I pointed out, that adds up to 4Tb. Going to Q would be effectively downgrading.


I’m sure some of these sci-fi series are made up as they go along Ian.

Do you also think quality and availability of new content has gone downhill?


On the first point, they certainly are, Alfa, because the way the system works in the States dictates that show runners don’t know until almost the last minute if they’ll be working the following year.

My better half and I were discussing this last night. Grimm was outstanding, in our view, and cancelled for no good reason. West Wing was another excellent series, as was Stargate, but for every great series there’s a morass of doss. But I suppose that simply reflects the state of products in the world, anyway.

Chris Goddard says:
23 September 2017

I have just cancelled my TV sky contract, well I actually did that in April. But that is another story! Anyway, as I say I have cancelled the sky TV service. But have kept the telephone and Fibre Broadband service. I have also told Kevin the sky customer service person that I WILL be moving to a new broadband supplier asap. Again, nothing about having to keep one service over another? So I should go back to sky and tell them what you wish to do. Please do contact me if you wish for any more info.



Chris if you are moving to a new broadband supplier then how are you able to keep Sky phone services ? most basic bundles include the rental for the line (not separately charged ) , BT does this now . What ISP is going to allow you to use Sky or why do you think Sky will allow you line only ? If I have picked you up wrong please elucidate ?

Chris Goddard says:
26 September 2017

Hello Duncan, good question! One I asked myself and not something I had really thought about. However I cancelled my NEW contract with sky for the new FIBRE broadband with speeds of UP to 75mbps?? And as I am on the old fibre at UP to 25mbps and am getting good ness alone knows what actual speed. But put it like this? I get buffering all day, but more usually around T-time 1700 to 1900. But I also get this at the really busy Tims of day too, like 0300?. And dropping out? That is enough to make a Vicar swear! But to get back to the point in question, when I assured KEVIN (The American at sky customer services) of the fact I was going to change my Broadband but wanted to keep the same telephone package. He did not figuratively speaking mention any5hing untoward? Perhaps he didn’t believe me when I said he was not the object of my ire in cancelling said contract??

But do indeed appreciate your input my friend! Incidentally, is it possible to obtain broadband by actual fibre?? I only as as we are in possession of a cable entry as well as the copper telephone line? Or like we had in our old property, two telephone lines? One a residential number and the other a business and dial up internet line? Albeit that was several years ago! 👍


Interesting Chris – if ,at other times on the old fibre , which ISP,s class as “bundles ” now you r speed was adequate until certain times of day that is a classic case of fibre congestion -ie- the fibre cable is near its limit /or equipment as young people ( or even older ones ) are using it for games/social media/downloading films/etc . Unless they are intentionally restricting your bandwidth due to your lower end bundle , telling you you will get “better ” service from the dearer one is not possible unless they use different exchange equipment methods as you will still be on the same fibre so nothing physically has changed . What ISP,s are obliged to do now is if you bare below the lower limits of your bundle constantly you can tell them they are not complying with your contract and leave them free of charge. But getting you onto a new contract is every ISP,s dream because it means you are held with them for a year or more. THats any contract vwith them -TV/Phone/broadband / -ie – any change to your basic contract is looked on as a NEW contract with them. New contracts can (and do ) have new conditions which should be read carefully , promises over the phone in advertising lingo don’t count .What I think you are asking Chris is can you get a separate line using fibre , well it is technically possible but whether your ISP would do it depends on if you are running a business , if it was FTTP there are ways of getting two separate telephone lines but again that’s up to your ISP., you wont get that on copper alone unless another copper line was put in . That can be done but its a full installation cost.


I am happy with John Lewis Broadband (Plusnet of course). They are easy to contact with a problem and quick to respond, whether by phone or through my account. My only complaint has been that very occasionally, towards the end of the monthly subscription, I get a message that the included Bullguard subscription has expired. This worries me, but it recovers in a day. I am told by JL BB that even when it has “expired” it is still active……..

Alison Dawson says:
22 September 2017

We changed to Virgin ( getting a TV, phone, broadband package for the first time) when cable was installed along our road. We were with BT before and never had problems. Virgin has been a nightmare from the start. We were losing connection for perhaps five or ten minutes at least twenty times a day. We’ve had a terchnician out to the roadside box several times. Eventually they decided it was connected up to our property incorrectly. Problem solved for a few weeks but then back to square one – and round we go. We can’t wait for our contract to end! On the plus side their customer service is superb. The staff on the phone always helpful and as I mentioned the tech has been out several times to try and sort us out.


Alison – I hope you still have your overhead wiring if you plan to go back to BT or another as VM are a cable company and you have transferred your phone+ broadband to them . You will have lost your underground network connection all the way from your DP ( pole or box ) -distribution box through your cabinet to the exchange plus your exchange equipment , if that was FTTC you will have lost that quickly . This will /or might incur FULL installation charges taking into account if you have removed BT,s cable to the Master socket as well . Check this out with BT sales first . By the way BT TV is getting better media coverage , Alfa (above ) has just posted a critique on Sky media which VM uses.


Alison, I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a poor experience since switching. It’s always really disappointing when you put the time and energy into switching provider (which is hardly an easy thing to do!) to find that the green isn’t greener.

It’s great to hear that the customer service has been supportive, but perhaps you might want to think about your rights if you’re getting a poor service. You say you can’t wait for your contract to end, but if your provider hasn’t been delivering the service it promised, you might be able to leave your contract when you like and without penalty, should you wish to.

Check out our consumer rights page on broadband for more info: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/broadband-phone-and-tv


Ordered broadband from the BT group back in July. Still waiting. Sold it as being available in 2-3 weeks. After 2 months I am being told the lead time is 4-6. Is this super fast broadband?


Just tried your broadband speed checker.
Its confusing me.
Why do the results seem to be in different measures than the provider comparison table?
175ms response time
4.4Mbs download speed
3.1Mbs upload speed
provider comparison:
Advertised speed (Mbps)
Download speed (Mbps)
how do I use these figures?


Steve – 175 ms is a long response time depending on a lot of factors . But in this case it will be measuring the server response time which, IF it is in the USA it is typical . I think Which,s server is there . Some testers give you a choice of local servers in which case ping time should be much smaller. As regards your speed that is up to distance and line conditions as well as your home equipment internal wiring etc etc. . 4.4 Mbps download speed would put you a medium distance from your local cabinet on copper or a long distance on FTTC.


Hi Steve. The research we released is based on customer experience, across a range of different metrics. The speed checker is a tool we have that people can use to measure their speed. Although we do collect data from it and will be using it in our campaign, it hasn’t featured in the results we released on Friday.

In terms of using the figures, you should have an idea of what speeds you signed up to with your provider. If not, you should certainly ask. Download speed tends to be the headline metric often, and I can see that you have 4.4Mbps, which is generally considered quite poor. This might be something you want to talk to your provider about.

Does that help?

threeinboat says:
26 September 2017

Have to say, using talktalk for many years at my mothers. I have found them to be totally rubbish.
I can not think of one part of using them as even average. When I tested it at my mothers in Clacton, we regularly got 2.8 download and 0.7 upload. this is very poor and no ware near as advertised. Many calls to customer services, which are worse than bad. Rude and have no knowledge of UK law, or the terms and conditions of talktalk. If it was my broadband I would have cancelled it years ago. My mother was old and didn’t want the aggravation. Just felt I had to comment on this deplorable company.

Simon Lawson says:
27 September 2017

Threatened to leave them when contract ran out in July 2016 and they offered me a better deal which I insisted had to be unlimited downloads. Moved home end of September 2016 and had BT transfer my service. Now I discover I am on a limited download service and I have gone over by 36 G which has cost me £63 which I can not really afford due to disability forcing me to be on fixed income. Tried to phone and complain on 25 Sept. 2017. The person I was talking to kept speaking over me and then I was cut off. They did phone back but cut me off as soon as I answered, twice. Then sent a text saying someone would phone me again on 27 Sept. and as yet (at1345) that hasn’t happened. I couldn’t get an answer as to when they changed my contract from unlimited, when my current contract was started or when it will end. I will never use BT again!


First of all Simon what has happened is that when you changed addresses they classed it as a “new installation ” which means a renewal of contract . Nobody should be allowed to talk over you and yes I told a certain BT female that only a few days ago –and talked over her . Its known in the USA as “passive aggressive ” and is meant to silence you –they picked the wrong person with me ! After a long argument I got a telephone number to an absolute Gentleman and I say that without reserve . Polite/well-mannered / cultured voice /intellectual / who actually helped me and I got what I wanted after being told -cant be done – its your fault “stupid ” ( in that manner ) as she kept repeating as if she was reading off an -“idiot board ” .I kept saying but that means you are blaming ME -right ? For BT front facing staff this is terrible from a big business image in the UK. Thankfully the GENTLEMAN I spoke to made up for it. I will be sending him a “thank-you “;letter for his excellent service .but I perfectly understand how you have been browbeaten -that makes me very angry ! I would say to you to put in an official complaint via EMAIL you should get a reference number and will be called back. BT this isn’t helping your image in this country and I speak as a loyal customer and ex,BT engineer. Pease get back to me for help as I know whats involved .


They just don’t care – indeed, if they ran their service as well as their accounts department, they’d be pretty good!

Robert Coppin says:
1 October 2017

no sooner had I paid for upfront line rental with BT the service speed dropped and charged for sport. I can get out of the BB service but they insist I loose the line rental and NOBODY will take on just BB without line rental. Stitched up good and proper for the next two years.


Robert I am with BT if you look at your billing on MY BT you will find the line rental is not a separately listed amount but is included in whatever bundle you purchase . Two years contract ? what bundle included that ? contracts are usually 12 months unless you re-contracted all or part of your bundle. BT are currently advertising 12 month contracts on TV . bear in mind other ISP,s do the same. Instead of slagging off BT why dont you tell me about the slow BB I could possibly help you .

Peter Northall says:
3 October 2017

Plusnet. Both Broadband and mobile.
In short: _DON’T!
They are without any doubt the worst broadband provider I can remember having. The famed customer service is awful; 30 minute waits on the phone to be connected with somebody who has less knowledge than I do; a pointless online chat option (last time I was 17th in line), and then they blame YOU for their failures. The bb speed is always at the lowest end or below. The mobile didn’t work overseas despite being set up for it.
Awful awful awful.

Peter Lennard says:
11 October 2017

We’re with B4RN which isn’t included on the Which? list presumably because it is a local community initiative – as it’s name implies it is ‘broadband for the rural north’ delivering fibre directly into our homes, not to a cabinet down the road. We get a great service, but what I don’t understand is the discrepancy in speed test results between the Which? broadband tool and speedtest.net. Which? broadband speed checker gives Latency 68ms, Download 124.3Mbps, Upload 366.7Mbps whereas Speedtest.net gives Latency 22ms, Download 897.24Mbps and Upload 940.43Mbps, both using an ethernet cable plugged into the router, not Wifi. Who’s wrong? Are the servers for the two speed checkers in greatly different locations and if so could that explain the difference? The Which? tool won’t permit me to submit the test results without me choosing a broadband provider from their dropdown list, but B4RN isn’t on that list. A pity as there must be other Which? readers in the North Yorkshire/Lancashire/Cumbria border region who could benefit from B4RN if they knew about it. If enough people in a rural community register an interest then B4RN can make plans to head their way, but if Which? will only give publicity to the worst providers and not the best, that is only helping people rise from truly awful to mediocre.


Very glad to hear from a B4RN customer I have been “singing the praises ” of this company in the past here but to deafening silence . I am with you all the way here , marvellous company – BRITISH and your right dont go by Which,s figures their server is in the USA but all broadband speed tests use different methods of judging speed. Some discount noise etc for example . I am sure Which will go on ignoring an excellent BRITISH company as much as HMG ignores small businesses. More power to your elbow Peter I am with you on this.


Hi Peter and Duncan, we are aware of the great work that B4RN are doing, and it’s good to hear from their customers directly. I’ve just checked to see why we haven’t included them in our surveys so far and the reason is because we need to have a minimum of 30 of their customers to take part in our annual survey, in order to get a fair representation – this is the same for all providers.

We do still engage with B4RN and keep up to date on what they’re doing for their customers.

Chris Southern says:
20 October 2017

Upgraded to Bt Infinity 1 with advertised speeds up to 52Mb in April 2017. The account details in MyBt state an assured speed of 34Mb for our phone line.
The maximum EVER achieved has been 22Mb todate in this new contract. Three complaints have been made about slow BB speeds to BT through July to October this year. An overseas call centre has dealt with these complaint without any remedy. This is despite many lengthy telephone calls and following all their instructions on at home settings. Their online fault logs now show these complaints as fixed.
The quality of response has been awful. Nothing has been achieved in trying to get what we were promised and paid for in terms of download speeds. The whole thing is a shambles.
This can only be seen as a blatant case of misrepresentation by Bt Sales.
My online account is even offering an upgrade package to speeds of up to 76Mb. This is obviously at an even higher cost. If they fail to supply at contracted speed how can they offer an even faster one?
We are stuck in this contract until April 2018. There is nobody intelligent who you can get through to. All the calls are fielded by overseas operatives who fail on all counts with communication and service.
How can this situation be legal?

The Bt Wholesale broadband speed checker states my acceptable speed range for my telephone line is 15 to 21Mb


Chris sorry taking so long to reply I deleted your post on my email client by mistake. Right – the answer for Infinity 1 MINIMUM speed is =15Mbps taken from BT,s own forum . It means you cant legally challenge BT on the speed. Their reply would be that you have to take into account the distance you are from the cabinet , whether you are using Wi-Fi and not a LAN cable and whether your modem is plugged directly into the master socket . There are other things relating to your home but plug the router into the master socket after disconnecting all internal wiring and use a LAN cable to your computer to get a more accurate reading . BT sales had not right to tell you you would get near the maximum speed , IF they implied that. Go to MY BT and complaints > then email and fill in the details a UK customer service operative will contact you within 5 days to help you, I know I have been helped many times by them , don’t bother phoning again. Get back if you need more help.

John Tuerena says:
23 October 2017

I have argued for some time now that the physical restrictions of copper cannot handle the high bandwidth needed to transmit megabits of data efficiently. Compression of signal and data is the only way to make this work and compressed signals have a limited efficiency.


Yes John compression is only good for short distances and drops off quickly. We are back to cost aren’t we , and that cottage nestling in the hills miles from a cabinet.

bishbut says:
21 October 2017

Could the bosses and other employees are using another network for their phone ,broadband and do not care if it works or not because it will no affect them ?


@j964144156 Can you state the number of people surveyed that made up each percentage please? The figures don’t mean a lot without them.

I am far happier with my Sky on 45% than someone I know on Zen at 84%.

Colin, do you think you could change your @ name to @ColinMcGuire so we can find you easily.

Mr C Scatchard says:
27 October 2017

Much of this is pointless – Across several speed checkers I average .38 mb download (.7 for which) and average .25mb upload (froze on upload for Which). The problem is that, even though we have super fast fibre optics running just 5 meters away from my front door, it goes to our telephone exchange 4 miles away then comes back to me (the last house on the exchange line) along very old and many times repaired phone lines. We’ve tried 4 companies so far and NONE have ever got close to the 1.5mb they all promised dispite coming to us with engineers and checking everything out! Satalite internet is unsustainable and will become increasingly unreliable, let alone that it’s far too expensive. So my hopes of selling my wares from my croft via the internet in the far North of Scotland is out the window. Following letters to the company rolling out the “super fast optics” here get the reply that “If they can find a solution it will be rolled out on or after 2025”. Any suggestions as to how I now proceed Which?


Was microwave radio ruled out as well Mr C ? That was used by BT in the past to provide service to some Western Islands . Even though a fibre cable runs near you that is not relevant in engineering terms as the only connection point is the cabinet which is obviously miles from your home . Unlike copper you cant cut into it to spur it off. On the other hand –is your nearest neighbour on fibre ? If so then overhead wiring could be run from him/her from the local DP ( distribution point ) black box on pole but there again maybe you are miles from them too. There is no easy answer other than tethering your smart-phone to your computer. Are there any microwave radio companies in your area ?


How do you currently sell your wares?


What “wares” malcolm ?


I was replying to Mr Scratchard’ s post duncan “So my hopes of selling my wares from my croft………”


In one way I feel sorry for him malcolm he must have a dream -beautiful scenery-isolation and income . The first two achieved ,the third he should have checked the speed of the internet connection before he bought the croft. I wonder if he is carrying on the traditions of a croft – wool spinning home grown vegetables/ milk/fresh eggs or even basket weaving. HE shouldnt have high costs in heating as most crofts have their own peat land . On the other hand it could be technical and the bits are bought and assembled to his design.


Isn’t it about time that all ISPs moved to using IPv6 then we could all have our own fixed IP address or group of IP addresses so that we could access machines remotely without having to fiddle about with port forwarding on our routers?

Roger says:
7 November 2017

The whole business of multiple providers, switching etc. is a complete farce. It makes the whole thing much more expensive and not fit for purpose. There will never be a satisfactory outcome until the whole network is nationalised with a truly democratic users watchdog with as little interference from politicians as possible. Why is it that the national health service is seen as the only reasonable answer for our good health but for utilities “national” is unacceptable. The only problem with the NHS is private medicine which runs counter to to the whole concept of care to all. Similarly our utilities are so expensive and underperforming because of overmanning and unnecessary complexity. On a personal note Openreach is yet again in our small village for its weekly visit. They have spent more money patching up the antiquated line than completely replacing it.


What you have described is the whole concept of right-wing Capitalism Roger , not even “New Labour ” is going to change that , it would require a “revolutionary ” sea change in this countries social and economic out look> Saying that the country is pretty split just now and with even more “austerity ” in the pipeline ( for the poor -of coarse ) maybe something will happen at the ballot box to help . But we are up against an “unstoppable ” globalisation of this country and if we dared do that then sanctions would occur against us . Its good to dream though.


The NHS provides free health care. That is very different from what the utilities are expected to provide. Real competition should good at keeping innovation moving, and ensuring businesses are run as efficiently as possible and free from political interference. I do not think that nationalised industries were good at efficiency, innovation and certainly were subjected to political interference.

What we need are good guardians to ensure that we have fair markets – something the regulators should be doing. So I’d concentrate on making Ofgem, Ofcom, Ofsted, CQC, FCA, for example, do their jobs properly and in the consumers’ interests as well as those of the industry they seek to regulate. Which? should have a major role in watching that this happens.


Free at point of service malcolm unlike the future vision of this country slowly ( slyly ) becoming a copy of the US private system in which you need two insurance policies to cover you for nearly 100 % . Its funded through taxing us and we are at the lower end of health care as compared to many EU countries because of the dogma of privatisation and yes its coming unless there is a change of of government for a different political party presenting a dogma where managerial component is downsized and medical staff is up-sized. All tghis – we a p[umping in more than ever before is bull , in real terms to cover costs etc they are putting in less than went in the past. Its make up your mind time creeping US style hospitals / etc or pay more taxes which HMG are never going to implement. Its a policy of-making it look bad so that only “great ” big business USA Medical can come riding to the “rescue ” its very obvious .


What’s the point of wibbling about broadband speeds and suggesting changing suppliers when the vast majority will get the same speed as it all comes via Openreach. Price and service when things go wrong are sensible reasons for swapping supplier but speed and quality of broadband won’t alter.


It is very difficult to form a view how good or bad local IP performance can be on a “debating” forum like this. Understandably the poor experience attracts the most comment

We have two fibre lines (one business): PlusNet @ 64mbs (more than promised) and BT @ 40/45mps (as promised). We are 2 miles from the exchange on FTTC and 300yds from the cabinet at the end of dodgy aluminium life expired cables. Lines can get noisy when it rains, but line breaks are the most common problem. It is not speed but, customer service is the most important.

The local Which comparison site is not helpful – We simply do not recognise the speeds achieved (half ours or less) and note Plus Net is not even listed. We have done and logged the check 3 times since Which gave the option but see no change to the table. In our experience it better checking the customer performance maps on the Thinkbroadband site


TC-The basic problem is the 10 % or so who are miles from a cabinet and who would need FFP which would cost a bomb for each- miles of overhead to remote locations . FTTC has its limits and distance counts . IN your case TC you have my deepest sympathy having Aluminium instead of copper from the cabinet to to the house. It was tried out in the city I worked in and failed as cabinets hear a busy road kept breaking down the connections . At a cost of many £1000,s working 24/7 copper was reinstated . It was down to a “save money ” exercise . AS regards speed testing two testers can be relied on I have tested/retested many times on them they are consistent within a Mbps or two.One is speedof.me and the other Ookla BETA . Speedof.me will even work with an adblocker . It doesn’t use Flash or JavaScript , and, according to US tech posters and the website they post on its the most advanced tester online .You see a large graph as well as results works with iPhone-IPad-Android- Windows-Linux and just about all mobile devices . Ookla will test your speed to many locations round the world ( BETA ) . Try them out for a good indication of your real speed. Please bear in mind that Wi-Fi is sloer than a LAN cable by a good margin and your house wiring / system/ gadgets like baby alarms digital house phones (DECT ) etc will all influence your speed. I have just tried them out to prove they work and they do and the speed quoted co-insides with BT,s assessment of my speed at 100 yards ( as the crow flies ) with FTTC so I am happy with BT whom I have been with for decades . Its possible to get FTTP if you are a business as standard but its not officially rolled out everywhere to the public.. You cant con BT you have pay for a business line first.


I really have nothing to complain about regarding speeds as I am getting what I was promised or more. They are also not out of step with BT wholesale when I checked.

Problem is loss of connection and separately noisy lines which generates phantom phone calls. I pay a BT Business premium so the lines generally get fixed within hours and usually I do not loose both lines at the same time.

I have a separate issue with other providers faulty equipment on our exchange but you try speaking directly to the OpenReach engineers!!! BT Business as intermediaries are useless. It is not their equipment.

We are hardwired here so there is no WiFi losses.


Interesting Tony , yes as a business user paying for it you get better service than thec public. Also your complaints are dealt with by UK based operatives NOT India . I know I have talked to them , nice people, at least in my view . Openreach are not allowed to communicate with the public its down to government legislation , you could try talking to the engineers . Loss of connection and faulty lines are 90 % down to an external fault. I have fixed bad overhead connections / slack connections art the cabinet and the UG squad ( underground ) fix the underground faulty cables usually water ingress . Do your lines come off a pole ? if so the overhead could be rubbing against tree branches or a building or the connection at the black box on the pole DP ( distribution point ) has water ingress . Alternatively the cable coming into your business ( lead-in ) is faulty or it could be the termination point is in the bathroom and condensation gets into it turning the connections into green mould and eventually creating acid ) DC voltage + water . I have fixed every conceivable external to the exchange equipment . noisy /cutting off faults . Get back Tony and we can talk .


Lines come u/ground with final distribution on poles. No issue here as they have been renewed in the past a couple of times (I have been wired for an ISDN connection in the past). Water in the manholes plus other adjacent line work would seem to be main cause ie they fix another’s line and break mine.

Yes I do get to speak to OpenReach, but only when they call to check out and fix a problem for me. If I could do this directly it would save 90% of the hassle. Their engineers are usually very helpful, often acting over and above their call of duty. I know HMGov have separated the telephone functions but the current complaints procedure is designed to thwart. Ofcom do not make it easy.

Local exchange problems may be a combination of one of my phone numbers coupled with other provider equipment not filtering out their line faults. I can establish the source of most of the faults ie Virgin, BT Commercial and TalkTalk but there is no effective means of handing over this information. In reality OpenReach should be doing the logging – performance, reliability or otherwise.

The tree scenario is unlikely but in one case it was traced to this but on a Virgin connection.

This is getting rather technical and off topic as regards Broadband performance. Happy to talk directly if this is possible to set up


Just a comment on internal faults…unlikely. Fault reporting generally goes > if its your equipment it will cost you £175 to fix > its not my equipment at fault !!! I have a dual WAN set up and the other half is working perfectly > incidentally both are connected to master sockets which are BT responsibility and the internal phone system is DECT only > if you check there has been history of line faults (aluminium) for many years etc etc etc.

OpenReach still check and have not identified an internal fault for many years.


As far as I am concerned if you read the convo title it says-why do big broadband providers fail to provide service . My technical comments have every-right to be heard as other posters want info on this subject . I talk to the public on Which not behind closed doors . If you don’t like that so be it but I will carry on providing info as I feel I am providing a service . You obviously think I don’t . I will let others answer you and clear your fault for you.

Martin says:
8 November 2017

I see BT are up to their old tricks again of advertising misleading broadband speeds. I recently received an e-mail notification of a price increase and the e-mail gave me a button to click that said “Upgrade your broadband”. When I clicked on the link it took me to a page for “Your Personalised Broadband Offer” which was to upgrade to ‘Unlimited Infinity up to 52Mbps’. I’m currently on “Unlimited Faster Broadband up to 17Mbps” and in fact I actually get close to 20Mbps during the day but a good less in the evening with numerous interruptions to the service at all times of the day and night. Before placing an order for “Infinity up to 52Mpbs” and what I had hoped was the start of an improvement to my current service I contacted BT to ask them what speed I would actually be able to get. After a long conversation with first line support people they decided they couldn’t answer the question and put me through to second line support which seemed to be a UK based person. After long delays and giving them info several times about account number, address, current package etc they eventually told me that “Unlimited Infinity up to 52Mbps” wasn’t actually available to me after all. Why do they make an offer that they must have known they couldn’t deliver ? I was thinking of moving to Zen but after reading some of the comments I don’t think I’ll bother. Looks like another Christmas with 10 family members where none of us will be able to do much on our broadband! Why is it so hard for broadband providers to give high speed reliable and stable broadband.


You actually have a point Martin , its the new advertising dogma to increase sales . In days gone by you had technical staff who knew intimately what was going on in the field as they had worked in it . Now its a case of the sales staff having limited engineering knowledge due to policy of using a “receptionist ” system where bye all their data is not built in but is supplied by a computer. while they might not admit it not all faults can be traced by computer testing . Likewise the dront desk sales staff dont get or know advanced engineering details this is now separate from them . I agre nobody should be contacted to boost sales on the strength of speed when the person answering the phone doesn’t know intimately what is the REAL engineering speed of every customer of BT . It creates upset, annoyance and anger in those who end up being told -no you cant get xxx speed . whoever thought up that sales strategy should have their wages/bonus cut because it is bad policy .


Advertising has always been used to increase sales, and it has almost always only involved sales and marketing staff who can dream up the plus points of their products, unencumbered by the knowledge from their engineers and designers. Or employing an advertising agency. Not untruths, just the advertising norm.

However, before we s**g of business for doing this, think of what the government does, the NHS (waiting times??), your local authority, all making promises that they fail to deliver.

You need to see through publicity and do a little research for yourself – pick up the phone or use the internet. Just like Martin did. Take nothing at face value.

Colin H says:
13 November 2017

I think we’re never going to see any real improvements until there is true competition at an infrastructure level. And if we ever get that it will be big companies of the likes of BT, Openreach, Sky & Virgin that will be providing it… I live in a small village and am with BT (Infinity 2); when I signed up a year or two ago I was amazed that I got pretty well the full advertised maximum upload and download speeds. Gradually my download speed has pretty well halved, although the upload speed is still fine. Openreach engineers do the stock routine checks and tell me it’s line contention, bad weather or there’s an ‘R’ in the month. They tell me it’s the best speed my line can support. Clearly it isn’t as I used to get double, nor can they tell me why I get exactly the same download speed regardless of weather or time of day, or why the exact same piece of copper has deteriorated so badly in the last few months (or if it has why it can’t be repaired), or why the line contention and weather don’t affect the upload speeds, etc. They are minimally trained and unwilling/unable to try to solve problems beyond doing the basic checks.

By the way, if we’re voting voting for worst customer service in my book BT is absolutely streets ahead – I lose the will to live if I have to call them about anything, let alone anything remotely technical. And I’m a Sky customer too. In all seriousness though, for many people in the UK is there really any point in switching providers if they all have to rely on the same infrastructure, and the tender mercies of Openreach?


Colin if your speed has gone down over the months and nothing external has changed then you have noise generated by many more customers in your area or you a using more computers to access the internet -ie-family etc . It can also be that your Wi-Fi has interference from some of your gadgets you have in the house. Unplug all the connections to your master socket by undoing the face plate (two screws ) then plug your router into the internal socket ( test socket ) via a LAN cable – connect to computer switch OFF your Wi-Fi and try that for two days or more and let me know if the speed changes .