back to article Guess who's still most moaned about UK ISP... Rhymes with BorkBork

Despite efforts to return to its roots as a broadband-only biz, TalkTalk remains the most moaned about ISP in the UK, according to data from regulator Ofcom. TalkTalk scored highest out of the top seven providers, with 31 complaints per 100,000 customers – a slight increase on last quarter. The main reasons for customer …

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Meh

"31 complaints per 100,000 customers"

TBH that's spectacularly low for any type of business.

Of course, that doesn't include those who only complained directly to TalkTalk, not to Ofcom. It also doesn't include those who aren't happy but couldn't be bothered complaining.

Never had any experience of TalkTalk, but I do use another cheap-as-chips ISP, because in my neck of the woods it'd be pointless paying more for a service that can't possibly exceed 6MB/s (on a good day), unless OpenReach ever upgrades my local exchange, assuming they even know where it is.

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Re: "31 complaints per 100,000 customers"

Came on to say the same thing. I wish my business had 100000 regular customers with only 31 complaints, heck, I'd settle for 10000.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "31 complaints per 100,000 customers"

I beg to differ. 31 comlaints per 100000 to the regulator in any industry is astronomical. It is pretty much in the territory where the an insurance or financial regulator would raid offices and start handing out bans to exec.

It is just the Alice in Wonderland of Broadband where this considered normal.

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Meh

Re: "31 complaints per 100,000 customers"

6 MegaBytes per second is a great speed - it's almost 3 times the 17Mbps I get!

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Re: "31 complaints per 100,000 customers"

A very good point. I imagine there are a lot of people who think that their experience is "normal" and never bother to complain. Not to mention the people who don't have the time/inclination to escalate their complaint to the regulator...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "31 complaints per 100,000 customers"

>I beg to differ. 31 complaints per 100000 to the regulator in any industry is astronomical.

I beg to differ again, that's just a rounding error compared to the rail industry.

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Headmaster

Re: "6 MegaBytes per second"

Yes, I meant 6Mb/s.

That's the sync speed. The actual speed is more like 4.75Mb/s at best, and typically more in the 2 - 2.5Mb/s range on most days. Periods of sub 1Mb/s are not uncommon. For about two weeks last Christmas I was getting speeds similar to what I used to get in the 1990s with my 33.6K US Robotics POTS modem.

My exchange has no fibre and no LLU, and I'm on an EO line, so I'm basically stuck with those speeds no matter which BT wholesale reseller I go with. I'd happily pay for A&A if that was an option, but it isn't.

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Facepalm

Re: "6 MegaBytes per second"

If the actual speed you're getting is significantly lower than (88% of) your sync speed, that's exactly when it's the ISPs fault and not BT/Wholesale/Openreach's.

(the 88% is because of ATM overheads)

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Re: "31 complaints per 100,000 customers"

I'd take a reliable 6Mb/s over a notionally-superfast-but-dysfunctional service any day.

I'd even take an unreliable 6Mb/s over Virgin cable, provided only I could contact the provider and get things fixed when it goes wrong. As in the difference between this story of BT (copper) failure vs this story or this story of Virgin failure.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "31 complaints per 100,000 customers"

I'd even take an unreliable 6Mb/s over Virgin cable, provided only I could contact the provider and get things fixed when it goes wrong

I can understand that - Virgin Media customer service and tech support is the worst of any company I've ever encountered, and I must express considerable surprise that the complaints to Ofcom are so low.

When it works, VM cable is rather good (thought I'm not convinced any number of users on 200 Mbps or faster are actually using their connection very intensively). When it goes wrong, you find out what a shambolic, customer-hating mess Virgin Media's management are. UK staff are usually quite good, but VM's mission is to offshore everything.

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Don't TalkTalk make a big thing of them being voted the best ISP in some adverts they're running at the moment?

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I noted the same thing.

I'm sticking with Zen. Not cheap but the odd time I do need to call them, it is a fine experience.

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Zen

Yep been with Zen for years during which time I have watched with amusement as the other Internet 'Service' Providers have battled each other to provide a worse service.

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Devil

Don't TalkTalk make a big thing of them being voted the best ISP in some adverts they're running at the moment?

Was that the "Talk Talk award for best broadband ISP with an alliterative name that rhymes with 'dork'" I wonder?

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Another Zen customer here

Another Zen customer here - they seem to be consistently brilliant :)

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Anonymous Coward

>I'm sticking with Zen. Not cheap

Not cheap, you're not kidding, BT business is cheaper and you get BT sport (whoopee do) and SIM discounts. For that price I'd expect a butler to hand deliver my bills.

I place Zen in a Jobsian reality distortion field.

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Re: Zen

HashMeToo as they say these days. It's not just about speed, it's worth paying a bit extra to Zen for the service you get when it goes wrong (even when the bit that's gone wrong is a copper connection a few hundred metres up the road).

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Don't TalkTalk make a big thing of them being voted the best ISP in some adverts they're running at the moment?

If they don't specify who voted, you can safely assume that they were voted the best ISP by their own board of directors.

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Yep, all over the radio.

Voted best by uSwitch apparently, which is just a "pick the cheapest" website.....

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I have to say, my basic Zen package is pretty much the same price as what BT were charging me (after several poorly-communicated price hikes). Speed is limited to about 2mbps where I am, so anything above a basic package is pointless for me. However, where BT regularly throttled the connection to 500kbps and point-blank dropped it about every half an hour, Zen only lost connection twice since I switched. And both of those were power cuts.

I'll stick with Zen, as others here have attested. Mere mention of the letters BT sends me into an incoherent ranting frenzy these days...

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Anonymous Coward

My butler does hand me my mail thank you (after opening it you see)

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Er... what's happening with broadband prices lately? The lowest is ~£20 a month and Zen is:

Unlimited Broadband (12 Month Contract)

Up to 17Mbps Download Speed

Up to 1Mbps Upload Speed

For the first 12 months £28.00/mth

Then £32.99 per month

Sorry, but that's quite high for the cost of their most basic bog-standard, at-the-end-of-the-day BT-provided line. And their fibre offerings are more expensive still (£46.99 per month? That's almost SkyTV territory, and certainly on a par with A&A ISP, who have a vastly better service and reputation all round).

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Zen too, no complaints, you pay for exactly one unit of internet and get exactly one unit of internet, I admire the simplicity. Also not hard to get a tech who can give you straight answers, I was shopping for a new router and asked what protocol it needed to support (telecoms is not my forté), they just gave that right out and I was on my merry way. It's possible there's cheaper, but I've never had any bother.

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Re: Zen

BT - £31.50 per month

Zen - £46.99 per month plus £55 activation fee.

As much as I loathe BT it's reliable and far cheaper than Zen.

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Actually, Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 is £42.00+VAT/month if you take line rental + unlimited FTTC with a static IP. (BT charge £5.00+VAT *Extra* for a static IP on their business fibre service - Quite how in this day and age a static IP in business isn't standard is a mystery) so Zen are now cheaper than BT Business fibre and have been for a fair while... which makes selling it much easier as it's a bonus :-)

As a matter of fact, having just checked BT's site - 76Mbps/19Mbps fibre unlimited is £27.00+VAT/month & £15.90+VAT/month line rental £5+VAT/month for a single static IP = £47.90+VAT/month - In comparison Zen is a flat £42.00+VAT - I should know, I've migrated three customer sin the past 48 hours from BT and it wasn't that long ago that BT were infact cheaper...

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The Zen Fibre 2 (Up to 80Mbps) is £42.99+VAT/month - It's cheaper than BT and that *includes* line rental. BT Business Line rental is £18.99+VAT at the moment so £25.00+VAT for (Truly) unlimited fibre and £17+VAT for line rental is hardly 'astronomical'. Also coupled with the fact that BT stiff you £5+VAT a month on top for a single static IP and Zen offer one for free... (And a proper router capable of handling more than 3 smartphones and a single PC, like a FritzBox or a Draytek, not a ShiteHub6!).

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Not cheap but the odd time I do need to call them, it is a fine experience

Indeed. Even when it was the call to say "I notice that on your website the price for my service has dropped, how about you apply that to my line?".

To which the answer was "sure.. <clickety-click> All done now.". No upselling, no passing off to someone else and no waffling.

I'm still waiting for my exchange to be FTTP-enabled though. My 70/20 FTTP line seems *so* restricting these days :-)

(Runs for cover from the incoming curses/hardware)

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Re: Yep, all over the radio.

uSwitch apparently, which is just a "pick the cheapest" website.

And almost certainly gets dosh from suppliers that it recommends. So dorkdork probably paid them the best..

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Mere mention of the letters BT

I had a fairly good relationship with my local BT engineer in the days when my line would fail repeatedly once the line box in the road filled with water..

Which only got fixed once I moved to an ISP that actually paid BT to fix the core issue.

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migrated three customer sin

So what address do Lust, Gluttony and Pride live at?[1] And where to the other 4 sins get their broadband?

[1] What is the address of Parliament anyway? "The Big Old Victorian Building that's falling apart, by the Thames, Central London" probably won't get the post delivered..

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single static IP and Zen offer one for free

And were cheaper than IDNet for my (initally 8, now 16) block of addresses too.

I like Zen. Even if the IPv6 advice they gave me didn't work - I suspect that wasn't the fault of the advice, more the carbon-based lifeform trying to implement it. And, to be fair, my home setup is a *tad* non-standard..)

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>Which only got fixed once I moved to an ISP that actually paid BT to fix the core issue.

Your ISP paid Openreach to fix their network? I think it is actually the other way round, BT/Openreach weren't providing a service and so under the Ofcom regulated SLA would be making payments (real bank transfers of monies) to the ISP...

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Anonymous Coward

If you note BT and Plusnet are not very far behind at 27 per 100,000. It would be interesting to note the actual breakdown of these complaints as I bet they are largely due to the unreliability of FTTC and it's susceptibility to poor copper wiring. However what a company does when something goes wrong is the best judge and to be fair on talktalk they are at the mercy of BT (Openreach) to repair those line faults who have a less than stellar record.

I bet talktalk's FTTP network in York has a very good reliability by comparison, it would be interesting to see the figures.

One thing that is unforgivable though are call centres where I can't understand a damn word they are saying and they can't understand me, I feel sorry for those with strong British regional accents trying to make themselves understood and banging your head against a wall must be more rewarding.

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However what a company does when something goes wrong is the best judge and to be fair on talktalk they are at the mercy of BT (Openreach) to repair those line faults who have a less than stellar record.

IIRC, when I was unfortunate enough to be with TT, they made a great deal of noise about taking over ownership of the infrastructure from BT. The service quality went down, not up.

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Anonymous Coward

IIRC, when I was unfortunate enough to be with TT, they made a great deal of noise about taking over ownership of the infrastructure from BT. The service quality went down, not up.

Even with LLU, BT still own the line to your house from either the FTTC cabinet or the exchange for ADSL and the provider rents it from BT and BT are still the maintenance providers. Even with ADSL the line still has to go through BT's MDF before it reaches the ISP's MSAN.

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Unhappy

The phrase you are looking for

"One thing that is unforgivable though are call centres where I can't understand a damn word they are saying and they can't understand me,"

is "Management has complete contempt for the customer".

Until that attitude changes, nothing will.

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strong British regional accents trying to make themselves understood

You mean, like the Geordies that staff the Sky customer services? Worth ringing up for the accent alone!

(I like regional accents. Apart from the Brummie accent which, bizarrely, is where I was born.. Oh, and the Esturine (Essex et. al.) accents. But my favourites are Geordie and (internationally) South-West Ireland..)

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Unhappy

I miss Demon Internet

That is all.

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Re: I miss Demon Internet

You mean before they were bought our and ruined?

Like practically every other decent small ISP?

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Re: I miss Demon Internet

Try AAISP

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Pint

Re: I miss Demon Internet

My website is still there - years after I left them.

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Re: I miss Demon Internet

"Try AAISP"

I'd love to because I understand they have great service but I can't come to terms with their usage limits in this and age of streaming media. I'd be paying silly money for top-ups.

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Re: I miss Demon Internet

I miss Be, until they were bought by O2, then sold to Sky.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I miss Demon Internet

"I miss Be, until they were bought by O2, then sold to Sky."

same here... still with sky as sort of not the worst of a terrible bunch..

I went to Be from a little ISP called ADSL24 who had the best customer services ever... I am still friends with a few people I got to know from the user forums. I even moved over to BE on the advice of the top guy in tech support when BT changed the way Broadband was delivered...

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Re: I miss Demon Internet

I am on A&As 1TB plan. Never get close to it and the wife watches quite a lot of streamed media. What you don't use is added to next month's usage.

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Vodafone

Vodafone never really got fully over that billing fiasco. It doesn;t help that one of their most recent "innovations" is one of those fully voice-driven IVR systems where it asks you to say what you want to talk about.

To be fair, it did seem really apologetic when I called it an idiot machine because it didn;t understand what I was going on about.

The problem is, rather than me being able to run through the menu and find what I want (or not) it makes its best guess as to what it thinks I want. Which doesn't help where the thing you need to deal with is complicated enough that it isn't neatly pigeonholed into what it's been told to expect.

It's also made it exponentially harder to talk to an actual human being. the only way I could find to actually get through to anyone human was to tell it I wanted to complain, which puts you throught to a human fairly quickly.

all the bad points of an IVR combined with all the bad points of a speech recognition system.

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Re: Vodafone

I was so glad to finally say goodbye to Vodafone.

What on earth possesses companies to think that these voice recognition systems are a good idea? They take far longer to navigate than a traditional "To speak to someone who can't help you with billing, press 1" system.

Often if you keep mashing the "*" key, the system will give up and put you through to a person (who can't help either)

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Re: Vodafone

>It's also made it exponentially harder to talk to an actual human being.

You have it easy :)

Try contacting customer services (of practically any "customer focused" business: telco, utility etc.) either as a deaf (from birth) person or as the legal representative of a deaf person...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Vodafone

>Vodafone never really got fully over that billing fiasco

Much like Virgin Media Business. Who carried on billing us for lines long since ceased and disconnected. Their arguement was "well, you didn't tell us to stop the billing!".

One letter from our legal team later, their attitude changed remarkably. Who knew that the words "We'll see you in court" followed by a lot of legal caselaw would be so effective?

We got a full refund.

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Trollface

"We always strive to provide the best possible experience and are disappointed by these results,"

Newspeak for "we will actually make the customer experience worse than it is now"...

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