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Consumer casualties on broadband battleground

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The volatile ISP sector is continuing to annoy UK consumers as it sacrifices service for lower prices.

Overall, a quarter of broadband punters are unhappy with their service - a 12 per cent slide compared to a year earlier.

TalkTalk and Orange, who both provide "free" internet service, dominated the lower reaches of the half dozen satisfaction metrics in uSwitch's bi-annual survey (.PDF), despite their claims that the problems which dogged their local loop unbundling rollout are behind them. Orange was at the bottom for the second time in a row.

TalkTalk's £15m investment in customer service staff, announced in April is yet to deliver an improvement.

There's good news for PlusNet, which after a nightmarish run of technical glitches recovered to top the poll by satisfying 78 per cent of its customers.

The performance of parent company BT, which recently overtook Virgin Media as the UK's most popular provider, was patchier, with its customers fingering poor value for money as a major gripe.

Virgin's recent launch of a 20MBit/s service was one bright spot in an otherwise mid-table showing, helping to bag the top spot for speed performance, despite its nationwide rollout of bandwidth throttling.

When it became first to offer "free" service, TalkTalk promised it would change broadband forever. On this evidence, let's hope not.

The findings were based on an independent YouGov survey of 10,513 adults in May. ®

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