Free broadband not such a bargain, after all?

15 Nov 2006

High profile launches of so-called ‘free broadband’ services by UK ISPs Carphone Warehouse and Orange have resulted in a marked drop in the quality of services, according to price-comparison service uSwitch, which reports that more than 40% of UK broadband customers are not satisfied with their supplier. More than 1.5 million new users have signed up for high speed internet in 2006 as a result of prices declining by an average 17% year-on-year. However, in uSwitch’s survey of 50,000 customers over the past six months, customer satisfaction scores dropped by an average 16%, with the Carphone Warehouse’s ISP TalkTalk and Orange the worst hit, with one in three of users saying they were not satisfied with their service. Virgin.net and Telewest, both owned by cable group ntl, were rated the best ISPs in terms of customer satisfaction and customer service respectively. Competition in the market is set to intensify after fixed line incumbent BT announced it would slash the cost of its wholesale broadband product by up to 12.5% from May next year. The move will enable smaller ISPs to compete more effectively with larger companies that have invested millions in local loop unbundling (LLU) in BT’s exchanges.

United Kingdom, Orange (formerly Wanadoo UK), TalkTalk