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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 March 2008, 12:31 GMT
Net firms tested on customer care
Five pound notes and coins
Price isn't the only factor when choosing a broadband provider
A survey of 4,000 broadband households has put PlusNet as the top provider in the UK.

The survey, conducted by broadband comparison service, Broadband Choices, asked customers to rate their internet service provider on various criteria.

Sky Broadband came second, ranking top of the table for "clarity of pricing and billing".

Other large providers such as Tesco and Orange did not fare so well, with Tesco criticised for quality and reliability.

The UK's leading broadband providers were tested in six categories: quality and reliability, download time, clarity of billing and pricing, after sales support, value for money and speed of service activation.

PlusNet topped the table with an average of 79% of users saying they were satisfied with their broadband service across all six categories.

Customer care

Sky Broadband
Tiscali UK
Virgin Media
AOL Broadband
BT Broadband
Talk Talk

"We weren't surprised to see PlusNet at the top of the table. Being a relatively small provider compared to other contenders allows them to really focus on customer service," said Michael Phillips, product director at Broadband Choices.

"A UK-based call centre and clear language on things such as download limits also helped customers know exactly where they stand," he added.

Orange ranked bottom of the table illustrating, said Mr Phillips, the importance of after sale support.

"Bad service is one of the contributing factors that is driving UK broadband customers to swap ISPs in the search of a better deal," he said.

Tesco did not fare much better and its future could be in jeopardy, thinks Mr Phillips.

"Tesco's broadband proposition hasn't fundamentally altered for some time now, so if things don't start to change soon, it could find itself being left behind in a fast moving market," he said.

A spokesperson for Tesco Telecoms said: "Independent research shows that our customers are pleased with the service they receive from Tesco Broadband.

"However, we're always looking for new ways to help our customers and serve them better and carefully review all feedback we receive."

A spokesman for Orange said: "We would be interested to find out more about the survey as our own customer satisfaction research, along with independent testing of our service, has revealed extremely positive findings.

"This came as a direct result of us having recently taken steps to improve our network capacity and customer services, which included investing heavily in our teams and will continue to do so."

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