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Is free broadband suffering a backlash as paid-for services boom again?

Major UK broadband comparison site Top 10 Broadband (, today suggested that free broadband is no longer the attractive offer it was a year ago.

Top 10 Broadband track consumer interest and broadband sales closely through specialist tracking on their website. The team today suggested that over 94% of their sales are currently for popular paid-for services such as Virgin Media, BT, Plusnet and Tiscali with ‘free’ options getting less interest than when they launched in January 2007 - when 85% of their broadband sales were for paid-for broadband.

A recent report by the BBC’s Watchdog programme came down hard on several ISPs whose free broadband service wasn’t up to scratch, with poor reliability, slow connections and an inferior service. Orange and Talk Talk received a particularly rough ride.

John Glover at Top 10 Broadband states, “we have seen a notable step change in people’s broadband-buying habits since January 2007 with consumers choosing paid-for services over free offers”, Glover continues, “we believe that free broadband has received such a backlash in the press recently that consumers are becoming more and more happy to pay for a perceived better broadband service.”

Top 10 Broadband’s press release comes in the same week that Carphone Warehouse owner Charles Dunstone’s expressed his belief that Talk Talk have resolved their initial problems with free broadband. Dunstone was happy to lay some of the blame at the door of BT who were reportedly a route cause of slow activation for new customers.

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