How we assess broadband deals
By Jon Barrow
Find out how we assess broadband providers and decide which ones are good enough to be named as Which? Recommended Providers.
The best broadband companies offer a great service at a fair price. They provide a fast, reliable connection and are on hand to help in the rare instances that something goes wrong.
For such an essential service, this is exactly what you should expect. But we know that far too many companies still don't deliver this. And all too often it's the biggest and best-known that are the worst offenders.
Don't get stuck with rubbish broadband - use our guide to the best broadband providers to find out which companies impressed in our latest customer satisfaction survey.
How does Which? rate and review broadband providers?
To find out which broadband companies you can rely on, we ask the people that know best: their customers.
Every year we survey thousands of broadband, home phone and TV customers to learn more about the service that they receive and create our broadband deal reviews.
We ask broadband customers everything - from how much they spend each month to the type of broadband package they have. We also get them to rate the key components of their broadband service, such as its speed, the technical support their provider offers and the value for money they receive. And we find out about the frustrations they face - like incorrect bills, unreliable connections or long waits to speak to customer service advisers.
Our customer scores and brand scores
We analyse the mass of customer feedback we receive to create ratings that enable us to compare each provider's performance. And we award each broadband provider an overall Which? customer score – based on each customer's overall satisfaction with the provider and the likelihood that they'd recommend it.
We then use this score to create a league table ranking all the providers from best to worst - and to create an overall brand score for the provider which we apply to its deals in our broadband deal reviews.
What are Recommended Providers?
We award the best broadband companies our Which? Recommended Provider logo. These firms are the cream of the crop, and the accolade is given only to broadband companies that achieve a customer score of 70% or above. It's a tough standard, and in our latest survey only two providers achieved a score that high.
We know price is important, so we only give the award to those companies that we feel charge a reasonable price for their services. If they charge too much, they're not eligible to be Recommended Providers, whatever score they get in the survey.
But that's not all. We expect more than top scores and reasonable prices from Which? Recommended Providers. Now, they must be signed up to Ofcom’s Codes of Practice as well as its Automatic compensation scheme.
The two are designed to ensure a fairer broadband market – the Codes require providers to give customers clear indications of the speed they can expect and a minimum speed that’s guaranteed. Automatic compensation ensures those who experience poor service get money back when things go wrong – without having to chase it.
Both exist, in part, thanks to campaigning by Which? – but both are also voluntary. We'll only endorse providers if they've committed to both schemes.
Broadband package information
The customer scores and performance ratings that we set are judged on a provider level.
But to help you find the right deal we also provide information on each provider's individual packages. By filtering the results according to your own needs – for example, selecting fibre packages with unlimited data allowances – you can easily find the best deal for you.
We also regularly round up the best cheap fibre and broadband deals on the market, helping you to cut your costs.