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The best broadband providers in 2024, based on our annual customer survey and in-depth reviews

Plusnet router on a blue table next to a potted plant

We've rounded up the best broadband providers, based on our survey of thousands of customers and in-depth reviews of BT, Sky, EE and others

Choosing the best broadband provider is one of the most critical decisions a household will make. When work, kids’ homework, TV, music and gaming are dependent on a fast, reliable connection, it’s vital you pick a plan that can be counted on.

Every year, we survey thousands of customers as part of the Expert Reviews Best Broadband Awards to help point you in the right direction. We’ve got plenty of first-hand feedback on the speed, reliability, customer service and value on offer from 11 of the country’s leading broadband providers to help you narrow down your shortlist.

It’s easy to be swayed by the promise of “ultrafast” speeds at bargain prices, but there are many factors you should take into consideration when choosing a broadband provider. So we’ve provided a buyer’s guide at the bottom of the page to run through the chief considerations, along with a dedicated roundup of the best broadband deals to save you money.


Best broadband provider: At a glance

Best overallZen InternetView deals at Zen Internet
Best for speedHyperopticView deals at Hyperoptic
Best valueThreeView deals at Three
Best customer servicePlusnetView deals at Plusnet

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The best broadband providers in 2024

1. Zen Internet: The best broadband provider overall

Price: From £35/mth | View deals at Zen Internet

The Zen Internet router on a black table

Last reviewed by Expert ReviewsJanuary 2024
Mid-contract price increaseNo

Pros

Zen Internet has built a hard-earned reputation for excellence, especially when it comes to customer service. Indeed, it’s the customer service scores in our survey that set it miles apart from the competition, meaning we gave it a perfect five stars in our full Zen Internet review.

More than eight out of ten Zen Internet customers are satisfied with the company’s customer service. To put that in context, the industry average is just over half. The Rochdale-based company is a perennial award-winner, and now it adds the overall Expert Reviews Best Broadband Award to its trophy cabinet.

It’s not only customer service in which Zen excels. Reliability is another strong hand for Zen, with a staggering 88% of its customers praising its reliability. Performance doesn’t suffer at the expense of steadiness either, with Zen claiming a highly commended award for the speed of its connections too.

Cons

Unlike other providers, Zen Internet can’t offer any TV bundles – although those can be a false economy anyway – and it isn’t the cheapest provider on the market.

Read our full Zen Internet review


2. Three: The best-value broadband provider

Price: From £24/mth (£12/mth for six months) | View deals at Three

The Three 5G Hub on a wooden table next to a potted plant

Last reviewed by Expert ReviewsJanuary 2024
Mid-contract price increaseYes

Pros

Three does things differently to every other home broadband provider in this year’s survey. Instead of using a wired connection into the home, it relies on its 4G and 5G mobile networks. And it does so at a price that simply can’t be beaten.

Three’s home broadband costs only £24/mth, with the first six months currently half-price (£12/mth). Better still, there’s no installation, no digging up gardens, no waiting for an engineer. Three can have you up and running within a couple of days and it offers flexibility on contract lengths too, with a one-month rolling contract costing only £28/mth.

For those on a tight budget, who are living in short-term (such as student) accommodation, or for those who simply can’t get conventional fixed-line broadband installed, Three’s offering is extremely compelling.

Cons

Just be sure to check your 5G coverage via the simple tool on Three’s website before signing up because you might not have a strong signal. The monthly prices shown below will also increase each April by the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation plus 3.9%.

Read our full Three broadband review


3. Plusnet: The best broadband provider for customer service

Price: From £28/mth | View deals at Plusnet

The Plusnet router on a blue table next to a potted plant

Last reviewed by Expert ReviewsJanuary 2024
Mid-contract price increaseYes

Pros

Plusnet picked up two highly commended awards in the latest Expert Reviews Best Broadband Awards 2024 survey, both connected to the way it treats customers. We also gave it four stars out of five and an Expert Reviews Recommended award in our in-depth Plusnet broadband review.

It was the runner-up in the customer service award, with two-thirds of its customers claiming to be satisfied with the service on offer – a score bettered only by Zen Internet. Plusnet has a good record of dealing with problems too, with 80% of customers satisfied after reaching out to the contact centre for support.

A strong all-round showing put BT-owned Plusnet in third place overall, following on from last year’s success in a much smaller field.

Cons

The main negative is that, like other internet service providers, Plusnet has decided to increase prices mid-contract each year on 31 March by the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation plus 3.9%. Meanwhile, its speed and reliability results in our most recent survey were not as high as previously.

Read our full Plusnet broadband review


4. Hyperoptic: The best broadband provider for speed

Price: From £26/mth | View deals at Hyperoptic

The Hyperoptic router mounted on a wall

Last reviewed by Expert ReviewsJanuary 2024
Mid-contract price increaseYes

Pros

Hyperoptic operates a full-fibre network that is built for speed. At the very top end, it can deliver gigabit (1,000Mbits/sec) downloads and uploads, something that none of the ten other providers in this year’s roundup could match. Consequently, we gave it four out of five stars and an Expert Reviews Recommended award in our full Hyperoptic broadband review.

No wonder, then, that Hyperoptic’s customers rate it so highly for sheer speed. A whopping 86% of customers are happy with the speed they’re receiving, with almost two-thirds declaring themselves “very satisfied” in this year’s Expert Reviews Best Broadband Awards survey. And when things go wrong, Hyperoptic’s contact centre does better than any other provider’s at sorting out problems, according to our survey.

Cons

Hyperoptic’s biggest weakness is coverage. Only 1.4 million premises in the UK are within reach of Hyperoptic’s network. If you’re not lucky enough to be among them, we’d say that Zen Internet is your next best bet for speed.

Read our full Hyperoptic broadband review


Where are the other broadband providers?

Above, we’ve only covered the broadband providers that we’re happy to recommend after examining the results of our annual Expert Reviews Best Broadband Awards and giving them a positive, in-depth review. However, it’s an unfortunate fact that they won’t be available in every part of the country and you might have a limited choice of major ISPs. To help, we’ve provided short summaries of the other broadband providers below, along with links to our full reviews.

1. BT: Reliable, but expensive and poor customer service

Despite the merger with EE and the fact that potential customers are now being nudged to sign up for EE broadband instead (see below), it looks like BT’s broadband lineup will still be available for the foreseeable future. We awarded BT three stars out of a possible five in our most recent review, praising its reliability and speed, while questioning its value for money and sub-par customer service scores. It’s certainly not terrible, but you can get far more for your money elsewhere.

Read our full BT broadband review


2. EE: Fast, but pricey and questionable reliability

Speaking of EE, it was a similar story to BT in our full review and we gave the broadband provider three stars out of five. We concluded that, while its speeds and customer service scores are strong, its reliability figures were lacklustre in our survey and the prices of the plans are high. As we explained, “unless you’re absolutely aching for those mega-fast speeds and can cut a better deal with EE, there are better options elsewhere”.

Read our full EE broadband review


3. Sky: Poor reliability, speeds and value for money

Sky posted the worst reliability and speed scores in our annual survey (19% and 17% of respondents respectively said they were unhappy), which led to a very poor two stars out of five in our latest review. Couple those results with high prices and you’ve got an ISP to avoid – unless you can grab a bargain broadband and TV bundle.

Read our full Sky broadband review


4. Virgin Media: Fast, but very poor customer service

Virgin Media only picked up two stars out of five in our most recent in-depth review because, despite still offering the fastest speeds around, its customer service scores were “appalling”, according to our reviewer Barry Collins. Only 39% of the customers we surveyed were satisfied with the level of customer service they received, while there were also concerns about network reliability and value for money.

Read our full Virgin Media broadband review


How do we test the best broadband providers?

Unless otherwise stated, all of the figures are drawn from a survey commissioned by Expert Reviews, with respondents and data supplied by YouGov PLC. The total sample size was 6,316 adults and the survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Great British adults (aged over 18).

We asked people how likely they would be to recommend their broadband provider to others and to rate its customer service, reliability, value, and speed. Only the 11 ISPs with over 50 respondents are included in our results.


How to choose the best broadband provider for you

What is full fibre?

This is a real boom time for Britain’s broadband. There are literally hundreds of networks popping up all over the country offering full-fibre connections that don’t rely on speed-sapping copper cables. Openreach and Virgin Media are rapidly extending their fibre networks, alongside dozens and dozens of smaller providers. That’s driving up the speed of connections and driving down the prices. A win-win, if ever there was.

Full fibre is most likely to be found in the major towns and cities, but there are many smaller and rural areas that can get full fibre too. Don’t rely on the comparison sites, as they don’t always list the full breadth of providers in an area. It’s also worth checking your coverage with companies such as our award-winning Zen Internet and Vodafone, who work with multiple full-fibre providers, not only Openreach.

What’s the right speed for you?

For those in a full-fibre area, you now have an embarrassment of riches. Connection speeds can now hit 1Gbit/sec (1,000Mbits/sec) and beyond, but before you sign up, consider how much speed you actually need.

In our opinion, 300 or 500Mbits/sec will be more than adequate for most busy households, while smaller homes with only one or two people should be able to get away with 75 to 100Mbits/sec.

Do you need a backup?

Many broadband providers now offer 4G/5G backup, so that if your main broadband line goes down, it can fall back on the mobile connection.

This can come at a significant extra cost (normally an extra £5 to £10/mth), but if you’re working from home and can’t be without a connection for a day or two while a line is being repaired, that might be a cost you’re prepared to wear. Note, the mobile broadband backup will likely be much slower than your regular fixed line connection.

Should you replace your supplied router?

All broadband providers will supply a router with a new connection, but as you’ll see from our reviews, some of these are starting to get very long in the tooth.

Some providers are still supplying Wi-Fi 5 routers to new customers on ultrafast lines, even though we now have Wi-Fi 7 routers appearing on the market. These older Wi-Fi standards are less reliable and less likely to get the full speed of your connection to the four corners of your home.

Many providers will try and sell you extenders (for an additional monthly fee) to ensure a stronger Wi-Fi connection around the home, but it’s often more cost effective to buy your own routers/extenders. However, be aware that many broadband providers won’t officially support third-party routers, so if something goes wrong, you might be on your own.

READ NEXT: Best Wi-Fi 6 router

Should you go for a broadband bundle?

Bundles of TV, phone and broadband were once all the rage. Now, not so much.

Landline phone connections are dying out, especially with BT switching off its PSTN network in the next couple of years, so think hard about whether you really need a landline. When it comes to TV, it’s often cheaper to buy broadband and TV packages separately, especially as most are delivered over the internet these days anyway.

Can you get help if you’re on benefits?

The short answer is “yes”. Many of the major ISPs offer reduced “social tariffs” for those claiming benefits such as universal credit, pension credit or jobseeker’s allowance, among others.

It’s always worth shopping around, but our pick of the current bunch would be Hyperoptic’s Fair Fibre plan, which gets you an average download speed of 50Mbits/sec for just £15/mth on a rolling, 30-day plan, with nothing to pay upfront. That’s half the price of the equivalent, non-social tariff plan (50Mbits/sec for £30/mth).

Read more

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