Choice surveyed broadband users across the country, asking respondents to rate their service providers based on factors such as connection reliability, speed, customer support, bill clarity, ease of setup, and overall value for money. Customers were also asked to leave feedback on any problems they've had with their service or ISP.
The ISPs we love
While the top four providers in Australia are still Telstra, Optus, TPG and iiNet, the most satisfied customers aren't with any of these companies. Internode took out the top spot in almost every category, with an overall score of 81 out of 100 (just ahead of runner-up iiNet, at 78).
When looking at all providers regardless of connection type, Internode ranks first in reliability, speed, technical support, and customer support, and ties with iPrimus in bill clarity. It's only surpassed in the 'value for money' category by TPG (a score of 80, to Internode's 78), and in 'ease of setup' by iPrimus (two points ahead, at 81 out of 100).
Internode achieved a similar result in the ADSL/ADSL2+/cable provider category, with an overall score of 78 out of 100. Other honourable mentions include iiNet (77 out of 100), Optus (74 out of 100) and TPG (with 73 points) - all providers that ranked higher than Choice's average overall score of 72.
Looking at NBN providers (a category that excludes Internode), iiNet comes out on top, smashing nearest competitor Optus with an overall score of 81 (to Optus' 75). iiNet ranks first in every NBN-related category, including connection reliability, speed, value for money, support and bill clarity.
What do we hate about our ISP?
Apart from simply ranking the best-of-the-best in ISPs, Choice's survey also looked at common customer sore spots. Out of surveyed NBN users, 60% had experienced issues with their provider in the last six months, mostly relating to underwhelming connection speeds. 42% of NBN customers had experienced dropouts, disconnections and other performance problems.
Looking at ADSL and cable services, only 37% of respondents on these connections had enjoyed an issue-free six months. For customers who'd experienced problems, 51% were related to slow speeds and 45% were due to dropouts and connection trouble, with other users also citing high bills, lock-in contracts and poor customer service.
Almost half of Choice readers surveyed had been with the same ISP for at least five years, proving that even in unhappiness, we're a loyal bunch. For those who'd made a provider switch, 29% jumped ship for a cheaper plan, 27% wanted more data, and 23% moved to hook up to the NBN.
Overall, the survey shows that the biggest companies aren't necessarily the best when it comes to keeping customers happy. It's an excellent result for Internode, and other above-average performers such as iiNet and iPrimus: so if you're looking for the best-value broadband deal, start comparing these providers here.
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