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BT has been named the most trustworthy broadband provider in a survey from a leading consumer magazine, putting the nation’s largest broadband company in a strong position to secure new custom from consumers who are worried over less established internet service providers’ (ISPs) prospects in the face of the credit crunch.

The Trusted Brands poll from Readers Digest magazine saw BT named the Most Trusted Internet Service Provider. In order to publicise the award, BT has unveiled a new advertisement which features the award prominently and which is running in the UK national press until Sunday.

The award comes at a time when UK consumers are likely to be becoming more and more concerned over the fates of their existing ISPs. These fears will have been fuelled by high-profile news stories which testified to how much the credit crunch has impacted on their business.

Tiscali in particular is known to be struggling, having this month been forced to suspend its debt repayments while it attempts to negotiate a new financing deal with banks. The company has around 1.7 million customers in the UK.

Should an ISP go the wall, it could leave those affected without a broadband service. Not only could this mean that people miss out on applying for jobs online, but it would also severely disadvantage businesses at a time when cashflow is of paramount importance.

By the same token, customers of failed ISPs are less likely to get their money back if they were with a smaller company. This was borne out by the example of junior provider E7even which ceased trading in 2006 and left many of those who had paid in advance for their service significantly out of pocket.

Conversely, the size of BT means that it is regarded as better placed to withstand the downturn and provide peace of mind for its customers. The advertisement featuring the Readers Digest award could tap into these concerns and make consumers opt to migrate to BT.

Jessica McArdle, marketing manager at Top 10 Broadband, said: "At times of economic hardship, it’s to be expected that people will look to trusted brands. In this climate, larger providers such as BT can reasonably expect more people to consider their services."

She added: "A broadband connection is now so vital to so many consumers’ lives and livelihoods, that they simply cannot afford to be left without one if their provider goes bust."

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