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UK ISP Recommendations Please

Hi me and my mother looking for new broadband provider, I’m trying to make sure which ever my mother selects wont screw me over.

I’m with Sky right now (1 stars on Trustpilot) , we could just upgrade. They don’t collect your browsing data. However they block non PG13 internet. Also they don’t allow 3rd party routers, so we are stuck with the one that over heats.

The other networks are:
1 stars on Trustpilot. I hared they do collect data, and do throw people under the bus. They also have “Free WIFI” System that would use my router to provide Free WIFI to other BT costumers, which i find insecure.
1 stars on Trustpilot. Seams to tell you in same sentence they will not and will do collect your history, and there is a way to opt out of marketing.
1 stars on Trustpilot. Don’t know much about them.
2 stars on Trustpilot. Their privacy page does not mention anything about collecting browsing history, but im not sure if its just privacy only about their page or their services are included in that page. I don’t know much about them
3 stars on Trustpilot. Doesn’t talk enough about their terms other then the legal “don’t use our stuff for illegal stuff” that every company does. Allows for 3rd party routers and provides Asus routers as standard.

there is also 2 more with 3 stars, that idk much about.

My mother also wants a cheap international rates pay-as-you-go. with the broadband.

I’m leaning towards Origin, but i don’t see enough information about their privacy & what data they collect.
(sorry for this being a wall of text)

From memory of the Cooptional Podcast and Podquisition, Origin may have been good a few years ago? IDK of the status of them now, especially as a US resident, but I remember there being positive talk about them.

Generally though, the ISP you have currently that sets your expectations to theirs will be your best ISP, I’ve found. It might be better for you to pop that router open, get some cooling blocks offline (Gamers Nexus can show you where), and go from there.

I’ve been stuck with comcast since 2014 now, and theres very little I can actually do about it. I’m honestly jealous you at least have choices, though with a country thats the size of the average US national park (/s) its not surprising either. But I’ve learned the little bullshit games with comcast and I know how to counter their BS. Since FOX just bought like 37-40% of sky, you might see some policy change soon.

Look into origin though. I remember hearing good things about them.

Yeah, at least with Sky I already know what to expect. While Origin I have never hared of before, and there isn’t as much info about them on the internet, which could be both good and bad. But the reviews on Trustpilot do seam to suggest its good.

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Wont screw you over how?

They follow the law as required the same as all other ISPs.

Unblock it in the settings, or use another DNS provider.

They definitely do allow 3rd party routers/modems. there’s nothing special about ADSL/VDSL in the UK.


Mabye a misunderstanding of the technology. the wifi for open use is separated from your home network and limited in bandwidth. You can also turn it off if you want to.

vodafone is a similar large ISP. talk talk and plusnet are subsidiaries of BT, as is EE.

poptelacom and origin. Never heard of them.

Also take trust pilot scores with a grain of salt.

What exactly do you need and what is your budget?

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Have you not looked at Virgin Media? You have to use their ‘SuperHub’ as a modem but can put your own router behind that.

Upload isn’t the best but at least where I am you can get packages with download upto 250Mb/s of download.

Its up to 350MB now. I’ve had Sky and Virgin and Virgin is by far the best. Customer service wasn’t that bad either, much better than Sky.

If you don’t want the fast and you want the cheapest, then you can go for a 50MB line. Their also, to my knowledge, the only ISP that offers broadband without having to get a phone line.

You need to be in an area which has virgin cable, keep this in mind.

The could screw me over with some legal BS about piracy

Legally (unless the law changed) they don’t have to collect what you visited, only the IP you had assigned at what time.

Yes i know the way to get around the PG13, still just don’t like it.

Well sky does not want to provide me with details I require to set up my own router, and the router i have does not let me see those details. (and yes i call it a router even tough its a router modem combo)

Source is some forum post that i cannot remember about people being sent out mail from them about suspecting that they are pirating.

Maybe there is miss understanding of the tech, but it still feels like there could be a security issue having one system to 2 networks. one “free WIFI” other my personal.

Most ISPs as far as I’m aware follow the law to the letter of the law, no ISP does more as its a waste of their money (and potentially illegal). All ISPs over a certain number of subscribers are required to follow specific laws in regards to collecting internet connection records. There is no law requiring the recording of more information. So whatever you’ve heard on this is incorrect.

So its a non issue… most ISPs have these controls for parents, its an on off switch.

No major ISP will, its just not on their call centre books. Generally there’s just a couple of details you need to enter. (google suggests sky has put in some extra restrictions on their network for fibre and 3rd party hardware so who knows. BT, etc. do not do this)

Well… Stop breaking the law.

In any case this isn’t the ISP, its the dodgy sites you’re using to download stuff you don’t own the rights to. Companies will put machines on sites that have access to their content and will scrape the IP info off the people attempting to download it. The IP address is associated with the ISP not you so the ISP will forward on the info to tell you to stop breaking the law.

Theres no real issues, but again you can just turn it off or use your own equipment.

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It would be good to know a budget and requirements. If you’re concerns about censorship, laws required by large ISPs, reliability, etc. there are options but the usual applied. You get what you pay for.

AAISP for example I recommend to anyone who needs them.

While the download is nice, I would recommend avoiding virgin media if you have privacy concerns and a reasonable other option. They track every url you visit on the router (!NOTE: this is based on the last time I looked through the settings on one), IIRC provide a “free wifi” system like BT on some plans, only support ipv4 and have some very odd “fair use policies” that cut your bandwidth provisioning if you make full use of it during “peak hours”, regardless of if the overall bandwidth is currently over provisioned or not. The latency from their network is normally very good however.

Well Virgin is not available in my area anyway it seams.

I’m in the exact same position at the moment… But you got to remember BT typically run everything other than VirginMedia fiber…

From my experience:

  1. BT
    Often get charges from small things which add up and I don’t even use my landline but price creep seems to get in there often. I was with them for a year (residential) all was fine, then I went business fiber 2 years even though fiber doesnt reach my house in the country but was faster, so I got it but I was actually put on a residential fiber connection and that person who bought the residential fiber got my business fiber. I only found this out at the end of the 2 year contract due to faults. And each time I got BT out for repairs with fear mongering about charging me for coming out if the fault was in the house they never fixed it. Was constantly disconnecting at full load at the end of the contract and one BT engineer said, “yes, you cant use the broadband at max capacity or it will disconnect you…”… woah… epic fail… There’s threads on this forum about this from a few years ago also. But remember most things are BT, (sky, ee, oneplus etc) but they often have better service with openreach call souts etc.

So I wouldn’t recommend going with BT.

  1. EE (now owned by BT)
    So far so good, I’ve had 1 issue with the no dial tone and back to 500kbs internet download speeds and 50 to 100kb upload speed which they fixed in about 3 days. But was fixed and no multi call out was required. Unlike my mother whom has been calling BT for the past 2 months to sort out the constant disconnects.

  2. Sky
    Can be good to ok, but make sure your unrestricted as you found out.

  3. TalkTalk
    Dont even think about it. Worst I’ve ever seen. Still goes through BT but their connection is terrible and I dont even think their help desk staff give 1 * about anything, also speeds always seemed slow with them (same line?)

  4. VirginMedia
    If you can go for it, i’m not in an area where they are available.

  5. PlusNet
    Many have issues with use at max download or upload, when I was having the same trouble with BT with this I found many threads on their forums about the issue there also. They are BT owned. The fix was to throttle via software all download and uploads to not reach maximum bandwidth available from their connection. But this was 1.5 years ago… so things might be better now.

In the end, EE is doing me good (ssh, ftp, http, https, podcasts, netflix, prime video etc)
BT if they are stable in your area go for it but they are either hated or loved as in quiet in the background as it should be.

Hope that helps.

Most ISPs as far as I’m aware follow the law to the letter of the law, no ISP does more as its a waste of their money (and potentially illegal).

While true, the bigger ISPs have more restrictions placed on them.

BT, Sky, Virgin are forced to more aggressively monitor their network and block illegal content whereas smaller ISPs like Zen, Origin, etc are not, as they are considered too small to realistically have the infrastructure to do so. This is a problem as typically they apply the whole Internet Watch Foundation blocklist which sometimes blocks whole domains just because a single page had something “dodgy” on it.

As for getting reported for things like torrenting, ALL ISPs do that, as its not the ISP that monitors you its the anti-piracy groups who monitor the trackers and peers. They then e-mail your ISP who legally have to forward it onto you and take action if you get multiple infractions within a certain time period. The only workaround to that are VPNs.

Yeah, that’s what I said.

Just a couple of points from me.

Many smaller UK ISP’s will use BT’s network (buy from them wholesale).

If you are concerned about privacy, you should absolutely be use a VPN. Expect that some DPI will occur on all ISP’s.

Depends on what you are actually talking about when you say they use their network.

Do you mean the open reach network? Or the backhaul networks? The backhaul networks are not all BT.