/ Technology

It’s time to demand a better broadband deal

Frustrated man in front of laptop

Almost six in 10 broadband users haven’t changed their provider for well over three years. Isn’t it about time we gave them a call and got ourselves a fairer deal?

When over half of us haven’t switched broadband providers for years, is it because we’re happy with what we’ve got or just too lazy for change?

Broadband comparison website Broadbandchoices.co.uk asked 6,000 broadband users if they’d budged providers since 2007 – 56% said they hadn’t. Sure, you might be happy with the service you’re getting, but three years in the ‘broadband-world’ is a long time.

Faster and cheaper

Times have changed – no longer do our credit cards expire while we’re ordering online. No longer do we need to add stamps to our emails. I’m exaggerating of course, but faster internet and cheaper packages have mushroomed since 2007.

The average annual price for a broadband package has dropped from £172.66 in January 2007 to £114.18 in January 2010, according to Broadband Choices. So if your bill isn’t benefitting from the same decline, maybe it’s time you made some calls?

Naturally, broadband speeds are also much faster, with 2007’s average and embarrassing speed of just 6.1Mb, jumping to the breakneck 14Mb in 2010.

But although broadband is improving, providers are quite happy to let you wallow in your sluggish and overpriced internet misery (except Sky, which is upgrading all broadband customers to 20Mb net). What’s more, many of the UK’s biggest service providers have scored abysmally in our Which? satisfaction survey.

Which? members rated over twenty providers, including AOL, BT and Orange, for overall satisfaction, broadband speed and reliability, value for money, and customer service. The results really hammer home the fact that it’s time to either force a new tariff, or switch suppliers altogether.

Time to take action

At a time when our wallets are tightening, shouldn’t we jolt companies that overcharge for inferior services? If you want cheaper and better internet, it’s time to take matters into your own hands:

  • Before you get on the phone, compare deals with our broadband package reviews. Take the best competing tariffs to your current provider. They won’t want to let you go, so they’ll likely match or better those deals on the spot.
  • Think carefully about your internet usage. Emailing or watching SuBo on YouTube won’t require an expensive package, but if you’re an obsessive (legal) downloader, you might want to spend a little more. You can use our broadband usage calculator to find out what package is best for you.
  • You could also save a packet if you bundle your home phone, digital TV and broadband packages together.

In short, vote with your feet. If your provider isn’t giving value for money don’t let them get away with it. Join the Which? Vote with Your Feet movement and hit your supplier where it hurts – their wallet.


I believe that this is not strictly true.

I you live in a conurbation, you may be able to use Virgin which is a cable network totally separate from BT.

Some BT exchanges are "unbundelled" which means that ISPs can install their own equipment in the BT exchanges. This can, in some cases give higher speeds than BTs own equipment.

In a few areas domestic customers can access broadband wirelessly via a local wi-fi network.

However, I agree that for the majority of domestic users, particularly outside the main conurbations, the infrastructure of the BT network is the factor which governs broadband speed.

Diana says:
3 August 2010

I’m one of the lazy ones whose BB costs a reasonable figure. The thought of trying to change my email address !! and to have to inform everybody !! no I’ll stay with what I’ve got.
The speed doesn’t bother me as I’m only a home user and when I’ve needed any help their email help line is reasonably quick to sort out my problems

I was with aol until around 18 months ago when there call centre and online help I couldn’t take it anymore. There download speeds and upload speed were slow as well. So being an o2 mobile user I switched to o2 broadband on which recommendation. I was amazed with the speed difference dowloading and uploading even though it was the same BT line. Also when there has been a problem there free helpline ( not an overseas call centre )has been excellent.

Rachel C says:
30 November 2017

I had an abysmal broadband service with plusnet with 3 problems in the first 3 months (including a visit from BT engineer and a new router). I had a PC, kindle and a smart phone and the only one that could pick up the wifi signal at home was the phone, even with broadband extender plugged in. On the fourth problem I rang the helpline and there was a 45 minute wait to speak to someone. I couldn’t get enough signal to webchat. I had paid upfront for 12 months and I still moved provider. It just wasn’t worth the hassle. The main reason I picked them was because they used the BT network so I thought it would be reliable. it was just painful.

It seems from your posts that NO broadband provider is without some faults for someone somewhere .Perfection is hard to find you can please some but not all I can manage most things without perfection from them

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