Internet speeds slower than advertised
Plusnet revealed to be UK's best internet service provider. Reuters

A survey of more than 16,000 UK residents has revealed the nation's best and worst internet providers, based on customer expectations in five categories.

Cable.co.uk asked users to rank their providers out of 10 for reliability of service, value for money, customer service, speed and the switching/joining process to create a total aggregate score. Seven internet providers were involved in the survey: Plusnet, Virgin Media, Sky, Vodafone, EE, BT and TalkTalk.

Plusnet topped the group with an aggregate score of 7.16 (out of 10) and also led the way in the value for money, customer service and switching/joining process categories. Virgin Media performed strongly, finishing second with an average score of 7.15. It also topped the reviews in speed and reliability of service.

TalkTalk was the least satisfactory provider and ended up bottom of the aggregate table with (6.57). It also finished last for reliability of service, speed and customer service. BT and EE both struggled, finishing 5th and 6th respectively. EE was the second-most disappointing provider for speed (just above TalkTalk) and BT was bottom of the value for money section.

The survey was designed to reflect customers experience compared with what they were sold on from the service provider. Cable.co.uk consumer telecoms analyst Dan Howdle said the survey would give a balanced review of the companies.

"Coupled with the unprecedented sample size, by focusing on how each aspect of the service customers receive measures up against their expectations, we have effectively levelled the playing field." Howdle said. For example, a 200Mbps customer who gets 100Mbps is likely to score similarly to a 17Mbps customer who gets 8Mbps."

Howdle says the company will repeat the survey next year. "It will be interesting to see whether providers who did not perform as well can make up some ground on this year's customer experience leaders."

The survey was limited to service providers that received feedback from at least 400 customers. 16,753 consumers were surveyed, with 3,200 excluded because their carrier did not meet the minimum number.

Reliability of serviceValue for moneyCustomer serviceSpeedSwitching/joining processAverage
Virgin Media (7.65)Plusnet (7.14)Plusnet (7.15)Virgin Media (7.40)Plusnet (7.41)Plusnet (7.16)
Sky (7.32)TalkTalk (6.86)Sky (6.92)Vodafone (6.94)Sky (7.27)Virgin Media (7.15)
Plusnet (7.30)EE (6.85)Virgin Media (6.90)Sky (6.77)Virgin Media (7.24)Sky (7.00)
BT (7.25)Sky (6.73)Vodafone (6.61)Plusnet (6.77)EE (6.96)Vodafone (6.77)
EE (6.92)Vodafone (6.66)EE (6.59)BT (6.71)TalkTalk (6.94)EE (6.76)
Vodafone (6.81)Virgin Media (6.56)BT (6.42)EE (6.50)BT (6.87)BT (6.71)
TalkTalk (6.69)BT (6.33)TalkTalk (6.09)TalkTalk (6.26Vodafone (6.84)TalkTalk (6.57)