I get asked this question everyday... who to choose as an ISP ??? It depends on quite a few factors which inevitably ends up in a protracted chat about usage, protection, family safety, download limits and lastly, cost. The biggest issue I see with the big four, apart from customer service issues, is actual network speeds at peak. They just have too little a pipe to the internet for the number of customers who are trying squeeze through it all at the same time, there is little or no traffic management of the data, and it's a free for all. There are a few ISP's who traffic manage, but our favourite (and the one I use at home) is PlusNet.
Link below takes you straight to them, and we get a referrer thank you for suggesting them (all those 20p's add up to nearly one whole pint).
Probably the best aspect of dealing with PlusNet is that they actually listen. I've trouble shooted many internet issues over the years, and spent countless hours talking to a 1st line support agent who probably struggles with shoelaces never mind "zero tones present on dsl line", experiences with TalkTalk, BT, Virgin and SKY have wasted countless hours on unnecessary troubleshooting, whilst calling PlusNet has become a pleasure. The conversation generally goes a little like this...
"Hi, I'm Simon, I'm a network engineer onsite with one of your clients, they have no internet, I've tracked the issue down to beyond the premises, and I'm not seeing any tones on the line"
Now with SKY, BT, Virgin and TalkTalk I then get three to four hours of mindless troubleshooting. Pull this out, power this off, pull that out, try a different filter, unplug the phone, etc. They just don't get it, I've already identified the issue is external.
With PlusNet - an absolute - just brilliant - change of attitude.
"Hi Simon, thanks for taking the trouble to help our customer, let me take your mobile number and I'll call you when the BT Openreach engineer has visited the cabinet/exchange and fixed the problem".
One minute phone call and the issue is on the way to being solved, you have to love them for this alone !
For business users I'm split. Smaller sites needing "cheap" internet, without priority support, I'd go with PlusNet Business, it's economical and great service.
However for bigger accounts, I have to recommend BTLC, a small firm based in Crowthorne (Between the Lines Communications), we work with them to install and manage fast unlimited business connections, often with IP-SEC VPN links to facilitate better remote support across their networks. BTLC also have a habit of reducing telecoms costs as well - always appreciated. :)