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BT, NTL and AOL slammed in broadband survey

Feathers well and truly ruffled

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Three of the UK's leading broadband providers have been slammed for being pants, according to research carried out by price comparison website uSwitch.com.

Its survey of 16,000 grown-ups by pollsters YouGov found that BT, NTL and AOL - who between them account for half of all broadband subscribers in the UK - came bottom in seven out of nine categories between them.

In particular, the research found that four in ten BT customers believe the telco doesn't provide value, while a quarter of AOL customers are unhappy with the quality of their connection.

And when it comes to overall customer satisfaction, NTL came bottom of the pile, closely followed by BT.

The top performing ISP was Sheffield based ISP PlusNet.

uSwitch.com broadband product manager Chris Williams said: "It is encouraging to see that the overall level of customer satisfaction is so high across the market.

"Less encouraging is that once again, as with the results of our Home Phone Survey, it is the companies with the largest numbers of customers which are failing to meet their customers' expectations."

But the survey from uSwitch - which makes its money by consumers switching providers - has been roasted by BT which has questioned the role of uSwitch.

BT Retail chief operating officer John Petter said: "It's hard to believe u-Switch's impartiality when they continue to make millions from undisclosed commissions paid to them by our rivals. We're calling on uSwitch to reveal to customers who gets paid what in this multi-million-money-go-round."

Petter went on: "A leading customer service research group, Epitiro, this week put BT top of the class for broadband service while other surveys put us top or thereabouts. Different surveys give different findings but the best measure is perhaps that more customers are with BT for DSL broadband services than anyone else."

A spokesman for AOL UK said that while it would review the details of the uSwitch survey, it was "genuinely mystified as its findings differ significantly to the research we conduct on a regular basis".

He went on: "We are unsure of the methodology used and specifically whether the results have been appropriately weighted to reflect the differing size of customer bases, as this could affect the final figures.

"Research of 4,000 households, tracked quarterly by Ipsos MORI, shows AOL customers are consistently more satisfied with AOL customer service than customers of other ISPs are of their service providers," he said.

NTL Telewest director of internet Chad Raube said: "Consumers have voted with their feet and we are the largest provider of broadband services in Britain." ®

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