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Lockdown let down: Less than half of big four broadband customers satisfied with their service

  • Less than half of customers (42%) from the Big Four broadband firms have been satisfied with their provider’s service during the past year[1], as smaller providers take the honours in the 2021 Uswitch Broadband Awards

  • Plusnet is the big winner, sweeping the board and picking up the marquee Broadband Provider of the Year award

  • The Yorkshire based provider also wins Best Provider Customer Service, Best Value Broadband Provider and Most Popular Broadband Provider

  • Disney+ and Netflix share the honours in the battle of the streaming giants, winning Best TV Content and Best TV Streaming Service respectively

  • Virgin Media takes Fastest Broadband Provider, and BT lifts Best Triple Play Provider[2] and TV Provider of the Year.

More than half of customers of the ‘Big Four’ broadband providers (BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media) were unhappy with the service they received during lockdown, according to new research by Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service[1].

The research was conducted as part of the 2021 Uswitch Broadband Awards, which recognise excellence in the consumer broadband industry. The awards were voted for by more than 17,000 broadband customers, as well as by a panel of expert judges from the fields of consumer affairs, personal finance and technology.

Plusnet claimed the top spot in four categories and has been named Broadband Provider of the Year, the Most Popular Broadband Provider and the Best Value Broadband Provider. Plusnet was also honoured for Best Provider Customer Service, with the company winning the award for the eighth consecutive year. 

Meanwhile in the TV category, BT won the battle to be named TV Provider of the Year, with customers enjoying the flexibility of being able to change their TV packages on a month-by-month basis. Disney+ made a stunning debut in the market last year, landing the award for Best TV Content. Its rival Netflix retained its crown as Best TV Streaming Service. 

The award for the Fastest Broadband Provider was scooped once again by Virgin Media, while the Best Triple Play (broadband, TV and landline) Provider[2] award was won by BT.

In the category of combined broadband, TV, landline and mobile services, BT took the award for Quadplay Provider of the Year[3].

2021 Broadband & TV Award Winners and Runners-up

Broadband and TV CategoryWinnerRunner-up
Broadband Provider of the YearPlusnetEE
Best Triple Play ProviderBTTalkTalk
Best Provider Customer ServicePlusnetEE
Best Value Broadband ProviderPlusnetVodafone
Fastest Broadband ProviderVirgin MediaVodafone
Most Popular Broadband ProviderPlusnetTalkTalk
TV Provider of the YearBTYouView
Best TV ContentDisney+Netflix
Best TV Streaming ServiceNetflixNow TV
Best Smart Media DeviceGoogle Chromecast with Google TVAmazon Fire TV Stick 4K
Comms Joint AwardsWinnerRunner-up
Quadplay Provider of the YearBTSky

Ernest Doku, broadband expert at Uswitch.com, comments: “The stakes in this year’s Uswitch Broadband Awards have never been higher. Months of lockdown living - and working - have seen millions of people rely on their broadband connection at all times of the day. 

“For the past year, the performance and reliability of our broadband has underpinned our work, social life and leisure time. 

“Faced with that challenge, the Big Four all found times tough, with none of them scoring a customer satisfaction rate above 50%. This could be a result of the perfect storm of surging demand and a decrease in staffing levels at call centres just as the number of customer issues soared.

“Nevertheless, they did make progress, successfully closing the popularity gap with smaller rivals, many of whom have built brands around the quality of their customer service and support.

“It was a particularly solid year for Plusnet, as the company scooped four awards despite the extra pressure to keep connections stable during the long months of lockdown.

“The launch of Disney+ in the UK was timed to perfection, with the streaming service making a stunning debut just as the first nationwide lockdown was declared. Many adults and children alike clearly found comfort in its back catalogue of feelgood fare, as well as new original programming, which saw it claim the award for Best TV Content.”

See the full list of winners of the 2021 Telecoms Awards here.


Rory Stoves
Phone: 020 3872 5613
Email: rory.stoves@uswitch.com
Twitter: @UswitchPR

Notes to Editors
The Uswitch Broadband Awards were based on the opinions of aUK consumer panel of 17,256 broadband customers aged 18+, as well as a panel of expert judges. Responses were collected between 29th October and 9th November 2020.
1. Respondents were asked ‘How satisfied are you with your broadband provider handling any issues you had during the COVID-19 pandemic?’. Satisfaction rates for BT was 44%, Sky was 46%, TalkTalk was 36% and Virgin Media was 40%. 42% is the average satisfaction rate of these four providers, based on the total number of satisfied customers as a percentage of the total number of customers.
2. A ‘triple play provider’ is where consumers get three out of four services from the same company - broadband, landline and TV services.
3. A ‘quadplay provider’ is where consumers get all four of their landline, TV, mobile and broadband services from the same company.
4. Respondents were asked ‘How satisfied or dissatisfied would you say you are with your home broadband provider overall?’, for BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media there had all been an increase in satisfaction compared to responses to the same question asked for the 2020 Uswitch Awards.

About Uswitch - saving you money for 20 years

Uswitch is the UK’s top comparison website for home services switching. We’ve saved consumers £2.5 billion off their energy bills since we launched in September 2000, and also help people find a better deal on their broadband, mobile and TV.

Uswitch is part of RVU, a global group of online brands with a mission to empower consumers to make more confident home services, insurance and financial decisions.

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