Lockdown let down: broadband customers unhappy with service


Over half of customers who subscribe to the ‘Big Four’ broadband providers
(BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media) feel they’ve been let down by the service they’ve received during lockdown, according to new research by price comparison site Uswitch.com.

The research was conducted as part of the 2021 Uswitch Broadband Awards, which recognise excellence in the consumer broadband industry. The awards were voted for by more than 17,000 broadband customers, as well as by a panel of expert judges from the fields of consumer affairs, personal finance and technology.

Plusnet claimed the top spot in four categories being named Broadband Provider of the Year, the Most Popular Broadband Provider and the Best Value Broadband Provider. Plusnet was also honoured for Best Provider Customer Service, with the company winning the award for the eighth consecutive year. 

Meanwhile, in the TV category, BT won the battle to be named TV Provider of the Year, with customers enjoying the flexibility of being able to change their TV packages on a month-by-month basis. Disney+ made a stunning debut in the market last year, landing the award for Best TV Content. Its rival Netflix retained its crown as Best TV Streaming Service. 

The award for the Fastest Broadband Provider was scooped once again by Virgin Media, while the Best Triple Play (broadband, TV and landline) Provider award was won by BT. In the category of combined broadband, TV, landline and mobile services, BT took the award for Quadplay Provider of the Year.

Says Ernest Doku, broadband expert at Uswitch.com:

“The stakes in this year’s Uswitch Broadband Awards have never been higher. Months of lockdown living – and working – have seen millions of people rely on their broadband connection at all times of the day. 

“For the past year, the performance and reliability of our broadband has underpinned our work, social life and leisure time. 

“Faced with that challenge, the Big Four all found times tough, with none of them scoring a customer satisfaction rate above 50%. This could be a result of the perfect storm of surging demand and a decrease in staffing levels at call centres just as the number of customer issues soared.

“Nevertheless, they did make progress, successfully closing the popularity gap with smaller rivals, many of whom have built brands around the quality of their customer service and support.

“It was a particularly solid year for Plusnet, as the company scooped four awards despite the extra pressure to keep connections stable during the long months of lockdown.

“The launch of Disney+ in the UK was timed to perfection, with the streaming service making a stunning debut just as the first nationwide lockdown was declared. Many adults and children alike clearly found comfort in its back catalogue of feelgood fare, as well as new original programming, which saw it claim the award for Best TV Content.”

See the full list of winners of the 2021 Telecoms Awards here.

2021 Broadband & TV Award Winners and Runners-up




Broadband Provider of the Year



Best Triple Play Provider



Best Provider Customer Service



Best Value Broadband Provider



Fastest Broadband Provider

Virgin Media


Most Popular Broadband Provider



TV Provider of the Year



Best TV Content



Best TV Streaming Service


Now TV

Best Smart Media Device

Google Chromecast with Google TV

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

Source: Uswitch.com


Chris Price
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