Ofcom “Accredited” Comparison Sites

This blogpost has been updated, please see the bottom for more recent edits.

I work for an ISP, Andrews & Arnold Ltd. We are a small provider, catering for business users who value quality and technical adeptness over cost. That’s not to say we are expensive. We believe we offer “good value” even if that comes at a higher price sometimes. We are currently ranked #2 in the UK by reviewers on the popular (unbiased but, strangely, unaccredited by Ofcom) comparison site http://www.ispreview.co.uk/review/top10.php.

Sadly a trend in the broadband industry (it was bound to happen) has been to treat all broadband offerings as being “basically the same” and compare only based on one attribute; price. In other markets, where the product delivered is far simpler (for example, mains electricity), this makes perfect sense. But in the broadband market, there are far far too many variables, both technical and ‘social’ (for example, quality of technical support) which can alter the real value of an offering.

Regularly we hear stories from customers migrating to us that compare us favourably with their prior provider, usually in terms of technical setups, features, facilities, support or whatever.

To re-iterate, I am saying that, for electricity, or gas, or whatever, price based comparison is good. But for broadband (and maybe even for mobile telephony) it is not good.

To this end we were all surprised when “Ofcom accredited” comparison sites started springing up. And even advertising on the TV!

There are two sites that have been around for a long time, and compare based on customer reviews and ratings; these being ISPReview.co.uk and ThinkBroadband.com but neither of these claims to be Ofcom accredited. Both have been around many years, however, and are trusted sources of useful, true, and “taking a broad view of the market”, all inclusive,  information. We have been listed on those for many years, and had no trouble becoming listed.

I have to report, that these Ofcom accredited comparison sites can receive no such praise.

Ofcom lists six comparison sites at its page on the topic; http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/price-comparison/. After we discount the ones that do not cover Broadband (BillMonitor, and Mobilife) we are left with four :

BroadbandChoices.co.uk
Broadband.co.uk
Cable.co.uk
SimplifyDigital.co.uk

For some time now, we have been exchanging communications with BroadbandChoices hassling them as to why they do not list Andrews & Arnold amongst their providers. Their television advert claims they compare all the best deals. We have received a variety of excuses for why we cannot be listed but nothing that sounds sensible or logical.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=et0MO8CGhmA <– TV advert

Today I decided to mystery shop (by phone) one of the sites in question. I dialled the number atop the Broadband.co.uk “help” page http://www.broadband.co.uk/help/ ; namely 0800 093 0405. What immediately surprised me was that it was answered by someone claiming to be from “Simplify Digital”. Fishy!

 

I initially queried whether any of the ISPs they list supports IPv6. This is not such an unreasonable question. The Internet has run out (almost) of IPv4 address space, and more enlightened providers are now offering both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. This is not confined to small niche ISPs like A&A. Some bigger players are starting to make noises. FaceBook and Google are already hosting their sites on both IPv4 and IPv6.

The “expert” that I spoke to (he was described as an expert by the website and by the voice over the hold music) had never heard of IPv6. Let me re-iterate that. An “expert” working for an “Ofcom accredited” broadband comparison site had no idea what IPv6 was. I said that I already had IPv6 on my current line. He asked who I was with, I said Andrews & Arnold. He had not heard of Andrews & Arnold (less surprising).

I said that there had been several providers I’d heard of, including A&A but which were not listed on his site. We then had a discussion about why this was. Apparently BroadbandChoices, Broadband.co.uk, Cable.co.uk are all supplied their comparison system by SimplifyDigital. So in order to get an ISP listed, one would have to make an approach to SimplifyDigital.

Not just that, but it transpires that all of the other sites callcentres are run by the same firm. So what you believe to be “independent”, “unbiased”, and “Not just from the broadband big boys like Virgin Media, BT and Sky, but from many of the smaller providers too”, is, in reality, four faces of the same, incomplete data, delivered by people who really are not experts, and all under a veil of validity handily provided by a telecoms regulator.

This is yet another example, I am sad to say, of a situation where Ofcom would be better leaving things alone. The “accreditation” gives undeserved authenticity to sites which actually provide more customers to a smaller group of bigger providers; providers not uniformly renouned for their quality of customer service.

If you want a proper comparison, go to the ThinkBroadband or ISPReview sites listed above.

EDIT: Thursday 7th March 2013. Someone commenting on this blog suggested I had not done my research properly and had made a factually incorrect statement. I therefore post the call recording (warts and all).

EDIT: Thursday 7th March 12:50pm. Emily Church from BroadbandChoices has taken the time to comment on the blog and answered some of my questions, as well as correcting some inaccurate information that I had reported based on the call recording above. See her comment below.

1. It seems we should be considering BroadbandChoices entirely separate from the others, despite the impression given to me by the “expert” I spoke to. The comparison calculator technology we use on on their site was developed, built and is owned completely in house.

2. The callcentre is also not answering BroadBandChoices’ phones. Not sure why he’d have given me that impression. Very unprofessional.

I would however say that we have attempted to get listed by the site and haven’t found it easy (and have even felt a bit “fobbed off”). So my critique there stands, but we’ll have another go using the details that Emily has provided us now.

I would also say that my criticism of the other sites, for the moment, stands, and my general comments about the whole business of primarily comparing based on price. I would still argue that the two best broadband comparison sites are ISPReview and ThinkBroadband, neither of which, ironically, is OfCom accredited.

EDIT: Wednesday 13th March 2013. I have now had an email from Miles Northrop from Cable.co.uk, the forth comparison site I mention above. He asks if I could update my post to correct the assertion that the comparison system on Cable.co.uk was supplied by SimplifyDigital (as I was told). I will quote his email directly on this matter :

“This is untrue. Much of our time, effort and resources went into the production of our website and its comparison system, so it’s very important to us that the assertion it’s provided by anyone else is corrected.”

I have emailed Miles back asking him to post a comment with his views on this blog. Since we’ve had written feedback from pretty much all of his competitirs, it’d be nice to complete the set with some response from him!

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54 Responses to Ofcom “Accredited” Comparison Sites

  1. Steve Hill says:

    I can’t say I’m surprised that the “expert” doesn’t know what IPv6 is though… any real expert is unlikely to be sitting in a comparison site’s callcentre answering the phone… He will simply be looking at the columns on the ticklist of what services ISPs offer, IPv6 won’t be one of those columns so he can’t help.

    • Alex Bloor says:

      Indeed, completely agree. However, I would say the company should not label them as experts on the topic of “the Internet”. They just aren’t.

  2. Ben Dallimore says:

    Brilliant investigation work. You need to make more noise about this; too many people will be going to these sites expecting unbiased views, but all they’ll get is info about the companies paying these websites to advertise their brand.

    While we are talking ISPs, BT have chosen to filter out all the websites I have hosted on a free web host. While none of them are money making sites or front ends to businesses, can they legitimately do that? Effectively, I have to choose to host my website with a company that BT decides is ok if I want BT customers to have access to that site!

    • Alex Bloor says:

      Ben,

      Glad you liked it.

      Regards your hosted sites. There is only one way really; You should get people who want to access those sites to COMPLAIN to BT.

      They advertise they are providing access to “the internet” but then they block a bunch of stuff. This is not providing access to the internet in my opinion.

      Or suggest they move to a good ISP (www.aa.net.uk would be my suggestion).

      Alex.

    • Richy B. says:

      Hi Ben,

      Strange you should mention that you’ve been unable to reach some sites via BT. We’re having the same problem (a few property orientated sites) via two different BT connections (one BT Business FTTC and the other standard BT Home ADSL). I thought it was just a problem at the host side, but now I’m beginning to think BT is deliberately doing this for some reason.

      I don’t suppose you can drop me an email with your details (my blog has a “contact page” and hopefully my name is linked to the blog).

      We do wish we had chose AAISP for our corporate broadband (many many other problems: mainly orientated around billing).

      • Ben Dallimore says:

        Richy, I’ll let you know separately my findings, but essentially I am on BT broadband and use 000webhost.com to host sites. BT produces a dns error when I try to visit 3/4 sites and fails to render properly on another. I went to a proxy site (hidemyass.com) and the sites all loaded up fine.

        Mobile companies also take it upon themselves to block sites. O2 has a URL checker to see how it classifies sites. Alarmingly, it does block sites of political parties which, no matter what your political view point is, is wrong in my opinion. Thought I’d share, sorry it’s off-topic Alex – looks like you started a great debate though!

  3. Nick says:

    Excellent work.

    You should push this at Martin Lewis (or anyone at moneysavingexpert.com you can get an email address for). It’s just the sort of story he’d run with.

  4. David says:

    “Apparently BroadbandChoices, Broadband.co.uk, Cable.co.uk are all supplied their comparison system by SimplifyDigital.”

    This statement is factually incorrect. You should’ve been more careful in your research.

    • Alex Bloor says:

      I have a call recording from the guy I spoke to at SimplifyDigital, which I can post.

      Perhaps you could tell me in what way you think it is factually incorrect?

      • Alex Bloor says:

        Just for completeness I have now included the “warts and all” call recording of my conversation with simplify digital. Including me saying to myself (whilst on hold) “I’m going to blog about this”.

        See the updated post.

  5. Anthony Pearce says:

    Hi Alex

    I can probably help clear some of this up.

    1) BroadbandChoices.co.uk, Broadband.co.uk, Cable.co.uk do not have their comparison systems supplied by SimplifyDigital.

    2) Some broadband comparison websites (Broadband.co.uk, Cable.co.uk, BroadbandGenie.co.uk) do have a help line or advice line which is operated by SimplifyDigital, but I don’t think BroadbandChoices.co.uk is one of them.

    3) Broadband comparison websites like these generally earn a commission from the ISP when they refer a customer who signs up for a particular broadband package listed on their website. This process is called Affiliate Marketing and is the business model for all the main comparison sites like MoneySupermarket.com, GoCompare, Confused.com, CompareTheMarket.com etc). It is also the business model for MoneySavingExpert.com and Martin Lewis who earned £millions this way (before being bought out by MoneySupermarket.com).

    4) As a result of this comparison websites tend to only list deals from merchants (in this case ISPs) that offer an Affiliate Program and commission to them for referring customers. This is probably why you have had no luck getting Andrews & Arnold Ltd listed on BroadbandChoices.co.uk as I assume you are not offering them commission if they refer customers to Andrews & Arnold Ltd.

    5) The Ofcom price accreditation scheme logo is awarded to websites that have had their price comparison services put through a rigorous independent audit. In other words it is their price comparison tables that have been approved and not their telephone help lines.

    6) Ofcom approved websites have to disclose to their users how they make their money, and BroadbandChoices.co.uk do this on their homepage, above the fold in the Switching broadband FAQs section, while Cable.co.uk do so in their About Us page.

    Personally I feel these comparison websites do offer value for the average customer looking to save money on their home broadband package. I also think that running a helpline powered by SimplifyDigital is ok, however I do think it should be made more clear that you are phoning SimplifyDigital and not Cable.co.uk or Broadband.co.uk.

    Is it ok for these companies to describe themselves as experts? Not sure on this one, would say they have a deep knowledge of broadband deals and packages, but maybe not everything to do with broadband and the internet. Certainly the person you spoke to in the SimplifyDigital call centre probably shouldn’t be classed as an expert because he is most likely just using the SimplifyDigital website to find the caller the best deal for their location. Perhaps they should be called advisors and not experts.

    Hope this helps

    Anthony

    • Alex Bloor says:

      Anthony,

      Very interesting and useful response. Did you hear the call recording?

      You say “1) BroadbandChoices.co.uk, Broadband.co.uk, Cable.co.uk do not have their comparison systems supplied by SimplifyDigital.” …. I would argue that this is not what was said by the operator I spoke to. He even tells me that if an ISP wanted to get listed, they should go to *simplifydigital’s* contact us page.

      You say “2) Some broadband comparison websites (Broadband.co.uk, Cable.co.uk, BroadbandGenie.co.uk) do have a help line or advice line which is operated by SimplifyDigital, but I don’t think BroadbandChoices.co.uk is one of them.” …. I never mentioned broadbandchoices.co.uk – the operator I spoke to mentioned them first!

      You say “4) As a result of this comparison websites tend to only list deals from merchants (in this case ISPs) that offer an Affiliate Program and commission to them for referring customers. ” …. Fair enough, but in that case they should not run misleading adverts that suggest they offer a comparison of all the best providers, which is a weasly way of implying “all providers”. The text of their website even goes into a bit more details, saying “not just the big boys”. This is misleading, in my opinion. People are entering the site believing a true “unbiased” (their word) view and selection. It isn’t unbiased. It is based on earn-out.

      You say “5) The Ofcom price accreditation scheme logo is awarded to websites that have had their price comparison services put through a rigorous independent audit. In other words it is their price comparison tables that have been approved and not their telephone help lines.” …. OK. My argument then boils down to the undeserved trustworthiness that the site gains by displaying the OfCom badge. If OfCom have only really just looked at pricing tables and nothing else, then that badge should not be able to be used a hallmark for “best service and best value”. OfCom should not interfere in this, in my opinion. It was obvious such a scheme would be abused. Consumer confusion will have been caused, I am sure.

      Thank you very much for your comment on my article though. I would genuinely be interested in your reaction to my reaction!

      Cheers-
      Alex.

      • Sam says:

        – You say “1) BroadbandChoices.co.uk, Broadband.co.uk, Cable.co.uk do not have their comparison systems supplied by SimplifyDigital.” …. I would argue that this is not what was said by the operator I spoke to. He even tells me that if an ISP wanted to get listed, they should go to *simplifydigital’s* contact us page.

        I promise you that each of those websites maintains their own comparison engine. Simplify digital are an over the phone comparison company only for these sites. They do not control anything on the websites. Going to Simplify Digital will have absolutely no effect on getting you listed on a broadbandchoices for example.

  6. Mark says:

    Actually, it does seem to be the case that SimplfyDigital and BroadbandChoices are entirely separate (although it is true that SD does seem to be providing the underlying platform for most of the others, including cable.co.uk). But this amused me a bit when I found it:

    “Until you list every single tariff from every single internet service provider, TV and home phone provider in Britain I don’t see how it’s possible to say you are completely impartial,” says Michael Phillips of rival service BroadbandChoices.co.uk.

    That’s from an article in the Telegraph about SimplifyDigital.

    Might be worth quoting that back at them next time you try to get BroadbandChoices to list you. After all, if their own MD thinks that you need to list everyone in order to be impartial, then it must be hard for any other staff to disagree.

  7. Phil Veale says:

    It does stun me somewhat that Affiliate Marketing schemes can be classed as unbiased when they are funded by the very providers they are advertising.

    I understand that they may include other providers for which they do not earn a commission as well, but if the outfit is a commercial operation, then surely there will always be some degree of business bias towards those suppliers which pay their wages?

    • Edd Dawson says:

      Hi Phil

      You’ve hit the nail on the head of what one of the key features the Ofcom Accreditation provides.

      Accredited sites are not allowed to list the results of their price comparison tools based on any commercial basis.

      So if you search for the cheapest they will be listed in price order, if you search for the fastest they will be listed in speed order etc.

      (I work for broadband.co.uk)

  8. Emily Church says:

    Dear Alex,

    I am the PR Manager for broadbandchoices.co.uk. I’ve read your blog and although I cannot speak for any of the other sites you mention, I can at least answer some of the points you raise about our site.

    1. “Sadly a trend in the broadband industry (it was bound to happen) has been to treat all broadband offerings as being “basically the same” and compare only based on one attribute; price….But in the broadband market, there are far far too many variables, both technical and ‘social’ (for example, quality of technical support) which can alter the real value of an offering.”

    You are very right about this, comparing broadband is not the same as other household services as there are so many variables. Our calculator actually allows customers to rank postcode results on factors other than just price. The default listing we use is first year cost (which includes line rental and any other installation/delivery fees, etc) since customer research has shown this to be the most helpful and transparent pricing mechanic. Customers can also use the drop menu on the top right hand corner to list by data usage or speed instead. Customer service (of which technical support is an aspect) rankings are detailed using star ratings which are displayed below each provider’s logo. The star ratings are calculated using results from an annual customer satisfaction survey we run and results are entirely determined by the votes of customers.

    2. “For some time now, we have been exchanging communications with BroadbandChoices hassling them as to why they do not list Andrews & Arnold amongst their providers. Their television advert claims they compare all the best deals. We have received a variety of excuses for why we cannot be listed but nothing that sounds sensible or logical.”

    This is incorrect. There was an exchange over Twitter in early Jan with someone who we later discovered was the MD of AAISP, but at the time of the twitter conversation (it was on Jan 15th/16th) he did not identify himself as an AAISP representative. AAISP has never formally approached us to discuss being listed – although they are most welcome to. The email address is sales@broadbandchoices.co.uk.

    3. “Apparently BroadbandChoices, Broadband.co.uk, Cable.co.uk are all supplied their comparison system by SimplifyDigital. So in order to get an ISP listed, one would have to make an approach to SimplifyDigital.”

    This is completely incorrect and I would be grateful if you could amend your blog to reflect this. I am not sure who you were speaking to or where you got the phone number from, but the comparison calculator technology we use on our site was developed, built and is owned completely by broadbandchoices.co.uk.

    4. “Not just that, but it transpires that all of the other sites callcentres are run by the same firm. So what you believe to be “independent”, “unbiased”, and “Not just from the broadband big boys like Virgin Media, BT and Sky, but from many of the smaller providers too”, is, in reality, four faces of the same, incomplete data, delivered by people who really are not experts, and all under a veil of validity handily provided by a telecoms regulator.”

    Again, I cannot speak for the other sites you mention but this point is also incorrect where we are concerned. broadbandchoices.co.uk does not utilise a call centre of any kind, and the phone numbers listed on our comparison calculator (next to the packages on the calculator) go directly to the ISP’s call centres.

    I hope the above at least helps clear up some misunderstandings. If you want to discuss this further or have more questions you are more than welcome to contact me, my email address is emily.church@broadbandchoices.co.uk or I can be found at @emily_church on Twitter – don’t be a stranger!

    Thanks,

    Em

    • Anthony Pearce says:

      Hi Em

      Just wanted to point out one thing you said

      “The default listing we use is first year cost (which includes line rental and any other installation/delivery fees, etc)”

      In your comparison table you list 1st year cost but that does not include line rental and any other installation/delivery fees, etc). Only when you click on “Show cost detail” do you show Total 1st year cost which includes line rental etc.

      A little misleading but won’t hold it against you as overall BroadbandChoices are best in class.

      Anthony

      • Emily Church says:

        Thanks for pointing out Anthony, you are quite right we highlight line rental in the details – an honest typing mistake not an attempt to mislead (could hardly hide it – its there on the site for all to see!)

        Cheers

        Em

  9. Anthony Pearce says:

    Hi Alex

    Some great debate here, however before I respond I probably should disclose that while I don’t work for any of the companies you mention, I am hoping to launch a broadband comparison site in the near future, and am also hoping to get the price comparison tables Ofcom approved in time (I was also thinking about using the SimplifyDigital advice line but may scrap those planes now).

    I have now listened to the recording and agree the person you spoke to was not very helpful and doesn’t fully understand the relationship between their partner comparison sites. He does say “Well err, we all kind of use the same comparison schemes and that kind of stuff…” which is not true.

    To clear things up a little, the comparison websites you talk about SimplifyDigital, BroadbandChoices.co.uk, Broadband.co.uk, Cable.co.uk, BroadbandGenie.co.uk are all different companies who have complete control over which ISPs are listed on their websites. What is common between some of these sites is that they may also market an advice line which is generally operated by SimplifyDigital, however BroadbandChoices.co.uk is not one of them (as Emily points out).

    In reality they do mainly list all the same ISPs because these are the ISPs that offer them commission for referring customers via Affiliate Marketing. In some cases, certain sites may have exclusive deals and independent relationships with ISPs, but on the whole they compare the same deals from the same ISPs, the only real difference being how they display the results and how easy they make it to compare. Some sites (like BroadbandChoices.co.uk) also have useful guides, speed tester tools, postcode checker tools and an “ask an expert” option via Twitter and Facebook.

    While it’s difficult to argue what “all the best providers” actually means in the BroadbandChoices.co.uk adverts, I do take your point on the whole “not just the big boys” thing. The text on their website reads:

    “We compare hundreds of deals in your area. Not just from the broadband big boys like Virgin Media, BT and Sky, but from many of the smaller providers too, so you can be sure you will be able to take your pick from a range of great offers currently on the market.”

    I guess they are classing the smaller boys as everyone listed on site that is not Sky, BT or Virgin Media. I think “many” is the key word here, but I do agree it is a little misleading and I would certainly not class EE, Tesco Broadband, O2, TalkTalk, Plus.net as the small boys, however base on subscription figures I’m sure it could be argued such.

    If you want to get Andrews & Arnold Ltd listed on one or all of these comparison websites the best way is not to use the SimplifyDigital contact us form, but rather put a business case forward to set up an affiliate programme. Whether this is viable for Andrews & Arnold Ltd is another matter however, as the affiliate commissions from ISPs can range from £30 to £100 per sale, and it is no guarantee that you will get listed on such sites. If this is something that you are interested in I would recommend speaking to the guys at AffiliateWindow.com. You could also speak to one or all of the comparison sites separately and negotiate some sort of partnership agreement (I would recommend following up with Emily above).

    Finally with regard the Ofcom accreditation scheme I think displaying the logo next to the phone number for the advice line (cable.co.uk do this) is misleading as it is only the comparison table that is approved. Also with regards the advice line I think users should know they are phoning SimplifyDigital (in association with…), and maybe calling their call centre employees experts is a bad idea, advisors would be more sensible.

    Whether comparison websites that earn their money from Affiliate Marketing schemes can be classed as unbiased is a big can of worms, especially when you consider that different ISPs pay out different amounts. So if ISP A pays out £50 per sale, while ISP B only pays out £30, which are you going to push?

    My general opinion is that Ofcom approved websites are about as unbiased as you can get, however maybe this should be listed as one of the criteria for approval (they do have Comprehensive as a criteria but not sure if this really cuts it).

    If you want more info then drop me an email.

    Thanks

    Anthony

  10. Adrian Kennard says:

    This is, indeed, interesting debate, and a more complex issue that it appeared.

    My concern here is that we don’t have any intention of paying a comparison site for listings, but it sounds like most of these “impartial” comparison sites might not consider listing us unless we do. This seems a contradiction to me.

    Yes, we could add £30 to £100 to the price of the broadband and then pay that to the listing site – that would be silly and we would rather spend the money ensuring we are not a bottleneck in the connection to the Internet or providing the highest quality support to customers. I wonder where customers would like their money spent.

    That is not to say that sites could not have adverts, but they can hardly say their listings are impartial if they only list paying ISPs, order based on level of payment, or (a concern OFCOM raised) they exclude some providers.

    The real issue here is honestly – claiming a site is impartial and implying it lists all (or “all the best”) deals when that is not the case.

    If this quote is correct – I trust broadbandchoices.co.uk will list us without expecting commission.

    “Until you list every single tariff from every single internet service provider, TV and home phone provider in Britain I don’t see how it’s possible to say you are completely impartial,” says Michael Phillips of rival service BroadbandChoices.co.uk.

  11. Peter B says:

    What difference would it make if A&A are listed on any comparison site?

    Are we honestly saying customers are going to willingly chose to pay £25 for 50gb when they can get unlimited services for under £10??

    Yes, I’ve no doubt that the customer services at A&A are far superior to the likes of the big 4, but given the current economical state in the UK I highly doubt more than 1 out of 100 customers are going to welcome with open arms, paying more for less.

    I personally use over 200 gig of data a month, I would need a second mortgage to afford a service from A&A, but in the last 24 months I’ve only had to call my ISP once, which was the ask for a new router. Said router was then replaced free or charge and delivered to me next day. Now according to A&A you opporate a no bullshit policy http://www.aa.net.uk/support.html (yes the site actually says that) within your customer services, yet you close at 5pm? (Sounds like bullshit) I can call my ISP 24/7….. So tell me, what exactly would I be paying the £50+ extra for…. Convenience? Nope…. Speeds of over 100mpbs? Nope….. So what’s the point of A&A being on comparison sites?

    Peter

    • Alex Bloor says:

      Hi Peter,

      You said : “Are we honestly saying customers are going to willingly chose to pay £25 for 50gb when they can get unlimited services for under £10??”

      I say : Yes. And lots do. Since we launched Home::1 it has been very popular. You may think, without having experienced A&A as a provider, that it sounds like poor value. But many many customers do not. Many customer in fact DO willingly choose to pay £25 for a 50GB service, because they don’t need more than 50GB, and they appreciate that when BT screw up, we fix it. Doggedly. Other ISPs would give up. Quite a lot of customers have migrated to us from other providers *precisely* because we can and do fix things that others have given up with. Not just that, but many actually *do* value the ability to run IPv6, or continuous line monitoring with SMS alerts, or .. or … or … or ….

      You also describe our closing of official support hours at 5pm as “bullshit”. Bullshit implies a customer being misled. We do not mislead. We are very clear that official office hours are 9-5. As an aside, in reality our support hours are often very much longer than 9-5; How many other ISPs provide informal support via IRC?

      You are right that perhaps we might label ourselves “niche” but why should a niche provider NOT be listed on a comparison site? It should not be about asking why we should be listed. It should be about why we shouldn’t be. And I think we should.

      My point about all this was that it seems ethically dubious to describe yourself as an “unbiased” and “independent” comparison site, and then to exclude the majority of providers, based on arbitrary criteria totally unrelated to the quality of the offering. That is all really. Yes I have a personal axe to grind, to an extent. But even if I did not, my viewpoint would be the same.

      Thanks for your comments though.

      Alex.

    • Adrian Kennard says:

      The 50GB was picked based on actual usage stats for thousands of home customers. We looked at what customers used even when their tariff included hundreds of GB in the evenings already. On average people were downloading under 15GB, a level that appears to be consistent with data we get from BT. The 50GB level gets you well in top percentiles, and 200GB would be one of the very highest users. I am not saying there is fundamentally anything wrong with someone using 200GB, but the tariff was picked on realistic data and we included 150GB and 250GB as options for higher price.

      Pricing is always a trade off. If you sell the service for the same price regardless of usage then you are criticised that lower usage customers are subsidising the few higher usage customers. If you try and charge exactly for usage then that gets complicated (and does not really fit with a shared service like Internet access). So you compromise.

      200GB a month of download is an average of over 600kb/s. At the best BT interconnect rates (21CN) and allowing nothing for the line cost itself, transit or actually running an ISP, that costs at least £34 a month to the ISP in bandwidth alone. If your usage is over only some of the day that peak could cost a hell of a lot more. Clearly, in your case, you don’t want to pay anything like what you cost, and want the lower usage customers to subsidise your usage levels. That is a business model for some ISPs, but not necessarily one that scales in the long term. Another business model is allowing interconnects to fill up and applying various types of shaping, but customers don’t like that. A&A aim not to be the bottleneck which means having bandwidth paid for to allow most peaks of usage to be totally unrestricted. That is expensive but results in a really good service which aims to achieve consistent speeds, low latency and no packet loss.

      Some people are prepared to pay for that!

    • Adrian Kennard says:

      P.S. If the comparison site is fair it not only should cover things like support opening hours, but also :-

      1. If the ISP is an “Internet Access Provider”, i.e. provides access to all legal content on the internet (OFCOMs definition of the term). I do not think the big players listed do, not least of which because they exclude IPv6 and so exclude access to IPv6 only web sites.

      2. The fact that the ISPs currently listed all state that at least 10% of their lines are at or below their guaranteed minimum access line speed and so considered faulty. They all appear to sign up to OFCOMs latest speed code of practice which means they are stating that (it is part of the code of practice!).

      A&A have IPv6, have no blocked ports or protocols, have no blocked web sites for any reason, and do not have anything near 10% of lines considered faulty.

    • Mark says:

      Firstly, a disclaimer: I am neither a customer nor employee of A&A. I just thought I’d point that out in case I’m accused of being biased.

      But, anyway, you ask why someone would “pay £25 for 50gb when they can get unlimited services for under £10?” Well, there are a number of reasons. One, as Alex has already said, is that not everyone is price-sensitive to that extent. Your 200GB usage a month would cost you £45 with A&A, if I’m reading their prices right. That’s less than a lot of people pay for cable or satellite TV. And if you’re using that much data a month, then my guess is that you’re using it for much the same reasons that people pay for satellite or cable – you’re watching movies, TV shows and the like. So the value has to be seen in that context. I spend more than £45 a month on beer and wine. I don’t think that’s a lot of money.

      Another reason is that the so-called “unlimited” services offered by many ISPs are nothing of the sort. They are throttled, they have port restrictions, they block access to certain websites, they don’t support IPv6, they use carrier-grade NAT. Maybe not all of these, or not all at once, but they all use some of them (and some use all of them). Independent suppliers, like A&A, have fewer, or none, of these restrictions. And that matters to a lot of people, particularly those who do a lot of online gaming (for which CGN is an absolute killer), or who need (or want) unrestricted Internet access.

      In any case, the mere fact that a provider is uncompetitive on price isn’t a reason not to list them. If you go to an insurance comparison site, such as one that features Suricata suricatta, then you don’t just see the cheapest insurers. You also see the more expensive ones – and that’s precisely because they know that, for many customers, price is not the single most important factor. A comparison site which assumes that price is the only thing which matters is fundamentally flawed and can hardly be described as “impartial” -it’s making a decision on behalf of its users that it has no right to actually make. It would be like a car comparison website which only lists small hatchbacks on the grounds that a BMW or a Jag is too expensive. And if nobody is going to be dumb enough to make that particular mistake with cars, or insurance, or clothes, then why apply it to ISPs?

  12. Nat says:

    Simplify Digital’s only relationship with the other sites the call centre employee mentions (bar BroadbandChoices, apparently) is to provide their phone lines, otherwise the Ofcom Accredited sites are independent and competing broadband price comparison websites who would have each paid Ofcom to have their online comparison tables audited.

    Simplify Digital’s service is actually meant to be ‘white label’, branded as the name of whichever site pays for the phone number, so it’s surprising that the employee answers the phone as Simplify Digital and then implies they run those other sites.

    • Alex Bloor says:

      So it’s hard to argue they aren’t – at the very least – unprofessional.

      Cheers for the comment.

      Alex

  13. Chris says:

    Disclaimer: I am a customer of A&A

    For me it is a simple case of “If you pay peanuts you get monkeys”. A number of people I know often ask why I pay the price I do for my broadband but almost in the same sentence moan about their own service being slow, especially in the evening with BBC iPlayer and Sky Go frequently being mentioned.

    My Broadband line is running at around 16mb/s. I have in the past (especially when Champions League games are on) had 4 streams running @ 2.9mb/s (the max of Sky Go) during the peak evening hours of 20:00 to 22:00 without *any* issue. In fact my laptop overheated and gave up because of the amount of decoding it was obviously having to do to show the four streams!

    I’d love to know how many people have accomplished this on BT or TalkTalk or Sky or Virgin at the same peak times.

    I know I can download at full speed at 2am, 10am or 9pm. Plus with a little effort I download all large files during 2am to 6am which has a monthly allowance of 1TB (yes TeraByte). The closest I ever got was around 245GB so Adrian’ comments above about usage patterns are correct.

  14. Edd Dawson says:

    Hi,

    My name is Edd Dawson and I work for broadband.co.uk and I thought I’d give our perspective on the blog post.

    A big inaccuracy to put straight first of all:

    – Our websites price comparison system was developed by ourselves in house and is owned and operated by broadband.co.uk, it’s not powered by anyone else. You were misinformed by the person you spoke with on the phone.

    We are a small company in comparison to many of the other broadband comparison sites and we don’t have the resource to operate a phone advice line and so we contract Simplify Digital to operate the telephone service for us, we do this as some people prefer to talk to a real person to ask questions. This isn’t such an uncommon practice for many businesses to use third party companies for phone services and I wouldn’t say it’s disingenuous for this to be done. It’s also important to note that Simplify Digitals phone advice service is Ofcom accredited.

    I don’t feel that you maybe understand how the aims of the Ofcom Accreditation and how it works, full details of it can be found here:

    http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/ocp/statement/pricescheme/consumerfaq/

    The main points are:

    – The accreditation covers only parts of the sites (in our case our price comparison calculator)

    – Information provided should be accessible, accurate, up to date, transparent and comprehensive

    We get audited regularly by Ofcom to look at the following:

    Accessible – That our site is accessible to all users regardless of any disability (hence why we offer a phone line service that is in itself Ofcom accredited).

    Accurate – That the details of the deals we list are factually accurate

    Up to date – That we constantly maintain the details we list for deals (no mean feat as many providers change their offers frequently)

    Transparent – Probably the most important one, we are not allowed to bias our results based on any payments or incentives from broadband suppliers. Our comparison engine allows you to sort by a number of factors such as monthly cost, yearly cost, speed etc and we HAVE to list them in rank order and nothing else. Non-accredited sites can list them as they please, we cannot, and we don’t.

    In an ideal world we’d love to cover absolutely every single broadband supplier and all their deals, but the sheer number would make this so costly that we wouldn’t be able to provide the service. You have to take into account that every time someone does a postcode search on the site we have to pay a supplier for postcode information we require (like linespeed, LLU and FTTC exchange data) so we can map which deals and what estimated speeds people can get. We also obviously have to pay the wages of our developers and content editors who make the whole thing work, we have server and bandwidth costs as well as the cost of the Ofcom Accreditation (it’s not free, we have to pay the cost of being audited).

    Yes we do get paid commissions from some suppliers when we refer someone to them who becomes a customer and we publish that fact on our site at http://www.broadband.co.uk/about/frequently-asked-questions/

    But it’s important to acknowledge that these commissions do not sway our results in any way whatsoever, we also publish real users reviews of suppliers on our site and they aren’t always complimentary! We are in no way in league with the suppliers.

    It would not be possible to run our site and provide the service we do free of charge if we weren’t able to be paid commission or take advertising.

    You also have to remember that for the majority of people in the UK probably don’t know what an IP address is or even care, they just want a service that they can plug into and it works and we know from talking to our site users that the most important issue for the vast majority is price. However if you’d emailed us (details of how to email us are at http://www.broadband.co.uk/help/ ) then we could have answered your IPv6 question.

    So if you think about how much it costs us to build, maintain and operate our site do you think that we should be listing suppliers for free? Essentially being listed gives a supplier promotion off our backs and there is a cost to cover to maintain a listing, in the example of Andrews & Arnold do you expect all your promotion and advertising to be provided free of charge?

    While we respect thinkbroadband and ispreview greatly it’s worth pointing out that they also get paid commissions for referrals as well in many cases. They also cater to different audiences than we do and obviously suit more technically minded broadband users such as yourself.

    The affiliate marketing model of advertising is great for advertisers as if it doesn’t bring them any new customers it costs them nothing, not a penny, zero risk.

    With an Ofcom accredited site a consumer knows that regardless of any commercial gain for the comparison site they will get unbiased results, they ask for the cheapest they’ll be told the cheapest, they ask for the fastest they’ll be told the fastest and they know that the information provided is up to date.

    If you have any other questions we’d be more than happy to answer them.

    • Alex Bloor says:

      Dear Edd –

      Much obliged for you taking the time to reply to this.

      I would ask, in light of the call recording that I posted, whether you are contemplating changing the suppliers of your callcentre. One thing that is not arguable is that they are giving out factually inaccurate information, and a far from “expert” set of information.

      In specific reply to one comment you make : “So if you think about how much it costs us to build, maintain and operate our site do you think that we should be listing suppliers for free? Essentially being listed gives a supplier promotion off our backs and there is a cost to cover to maintain a listing, in the example of Andrews & Arnold do you expect all your promotion and advertising to be provided free of charge?”

      I come back to how you wish to be seen. You describe your site in various terms designed to conjour up in the consumer’s mind the impression that you are unbiased, and offer a comparison of all deals. You do not do this. Your asking of whether we’d expect to get free advertising is spurious. We actually do advertise and pay for it. We expect to….

      BUT … if a website claims (either implicitly or tacitly) to be unbiased, whilst in reality excluding all non-paying ISPs, then it seems to me to be a misleading impression being created. Judging by a lot of the comments I’ve read, been tweeted, many people agree.

      The Ofcom pages detailing the scope of the accreditation scheme look intersting, and I will read them. However, my comment was always that sites such as yours use the ofcom badge, whether intentionally or not, to create an impression outside of the scope that ofcom themselves lay down. A consumer shouldn’t have to read pages of information to find out what is and what is not covered by the accreditation. And this is why I think the whole accreditation scheme is – arguably – toxic to the industry.

      Obviously I can understand why you would not agree, since you’ve obviously paid a good deal of money for auditing to get the badge.

      You say “With an Ofcom accredited site a consumer knows that regardless of any commercial gain for the comparison site they will get unbiased results, they ask for the cheapest they’ll be told the cheapest, they ask for the fastest they’ll be told the fastest and they know that the information provided is up to date.”

      I say that the first part of that sentence of that reply contradicts itself. If there is commercial gain, there must be bias. For a start, what about all the deals you do not list due to the providers refusing to pay kick-backs? That is bias against all providers unwilling to pay kick-backs! It means that whilst they may be able to get the cheapest price out of the small number of providers that you list, they almost certainly won’t get the cheapest price in the entire market. I cannot understand how a person could not see that as bias! Please do explain.

      Would be interested to hear your responses. Many thanks again for taking the time to respond.

      Alex

      • Adrian Kennard says:

        As MD of AAISP I am happy to also answer the same as Alex. If a site says they list *all* the best deals then they have to include us, and all the other deals that could be included in “best” regardless of whether we are prepared to pay commission or not. If you don’t then you need to change what you state in your advert and on your site to be clear that you only list /some/ deals based on whether they will pay to be listed – that makes you much less appealing to consumers, so I can see why you would rather not say that. Pick one – list us or honestly describe your site – one or the other!

        • Edd Dawson says:

          Hi Adrian

          I’ve checked our site and I don’t see anywhere where on broadband.co.uk claim to list “all” the broadband suppliers or deals available in the UK.

          We also do state on the site how we are funded as I pointed out originally. it’s also worth pointing out that we don’t gain commissions on all signups or deals.

          Thanks
          Edd

      • Edd Dawson says:

        Hi Alex

        As I replied to Adrian, we don’t claim to cover “all” the deals from all the suppliers in the UK, we list the covered suppliers on the homepage of broadband.co.uk.

        Those we list are compared totally impartially by the price comparison engine, and as I said to Adrian not every deal and signup will earn us commission.

        I know I’m unlikely to persuade you that the Ofcom accreditation scheme is worthwhile so I’m not going to try but I don’t mind helping with factual details to clarify your points so we all get a better understanding of how things actually work.

        It’s been interesting hearing your opinions (and those of the other commenters) as a different perspective on our site is always good to hear and has given food for thought as to how different types of broadband customers to those we primarily deal with view things.

        Thanks
        Edd

        • Alex Bloor says:

          Edd-

          And once again I’d like to thank you (sincerely) for taking the time to respond. It is good to know that someone listens.

          So…. Where this all began….

          If not all of your deals *do* attract kick-back commission, please can AAISP be listed on your site?

          Alex.

        • S says:

          Edd,

          You state that you don’t cover *all* deals from all providers. But, you don’t specifically say that you don’t list all providers that might be available for the customer.

          What about the “View all deals” link that is at the bottom of the search result? Doesn’t that imply to the general public that it is giving “all” the deals available?

          S

    • Adrian Kennard says:

      You make a very good point on IPv6, that “the majority of people in the UK probably don’t know what an IP address is or even care”. I agree.

      So lets phrase it differently – please can you ensure broadandchoices.co.uk list which of their providers provide an “Internet Access Service”. A simple yes/no and a tick box on the search criteria somewhere. I believe OFCOM defined this in net neutrality documents as offering access to all legal content on the Internet.

      This is a simpler and easier to understand term. Indeed, Ed Vaizey is quoted as saying “The Government expect all internet service providers (ISPs) providing an internet access service-both fixed and mobile-to offer all legal content.”

      Given that there is “legal content” on the Internet that is IPv6 only, then only those ISPs offering IPv6 (as well as IPv4) are true “Internet Access providers’.

      It is that simple!

  15. Michael says:

    Have found this all rather intriguing, so did some more digging and uncovered the following inconsistencies regarding Broadband.co.uk:

    1. WHOIS data for broadband.co.uk lists the following details:
    Domain name: broadband.co.uk
    Registrant: Broadband.co.uk Ltd
    Registrant type: UK Limited Company, (Company number: 5149929)
    Registrant’s address:
    3-5 High Pavemnent
    The Lace Market
    Nottingham
    NG1 1HF
    United Kingdom

    2) Companies House check for the above company number provides the following:
    Name & Registered Office:
    COMPTON MEDIA LTD.
    52A ST. JOHN STREET
    ASHBOURNE
    DERBYSHIRE
    UNITED KINGDOM
    DE6 1GH
    Company No. 05149929

    Previous Names:
    Date of change Previous Name
    14/04/2010 BROADBAND.CO.UK LIMITED
    11/10/2004 CASTLEGATE 326 LIMITED

    Interesting…so either the WHOIS data is wrong (tut tut!) or the company has been rather lax in updating its records with companies house (slap wrist!).

    3) Look the business name and address on the Terms and Conditions page at http://www.broadband.co.uk/about/terms/

    User Conditions
    Thank you for accessing this Website http://www.broadband.co.uk. Please read these User Conditions before using this site which is operated by broadband Limited whose registered office is at 52A St John Street, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 1GH (registered number 5149929) and registered for VAT purposes with number tbc (“we” or “us”). >>

    More interesting…a different company name “broadband limited” that doesn’t match the registered name associated with the company number (see 2 above). Is that a breach of ASA rules? At least the address matches the company registration, even if the company name doesn’t.

    4) If you do a Companies House lookup on “Broadband Limited” you get a completely different company:

    Name & Registered Office:
    BROADBAND LIMITED
    TEMPLE COURT MEWS
    109 OXFORD ROAD
    OXFORD
    OXON
    ENGLAND
    OX4 2ER
    Company No. 06918035

    This company appears to be entirely innocent and unrelated to broadband.co.uk given the current information available. They might be a bit p***ed that broadband.co.uk is using their company name in their terms and conditions though.

    All in all, these inconsistencies don”t exactly inspire confidence that broadband.co.uk is a competant, trustworthy operation. At the very least they need to get their act together regarding their business documentation.

    I haven’t dug into the other 3 sites yet…..

    Michael.

    • Michael says:

      Checked out simplifydigital.co.uk details. The address and company number on website are consistent with Companies House regitration details, but their WHOIS data has an incorrect address (London rather than Bristol).

      cable.co.uk and broadbandchoices.co.uk at least seem to have consistent records with name address and company number details being consistent between those declared on website and the relevant WHOIS and Companies House registraton data.

      Michael.

    • Alex Bloor says:

      Thanks for doing this research Michael. Well done!

      It would be interesting to see what Edd’s comments are about this.

      Alex.

      • Edd Dawson says:

        Fair call from Michael, our WHOIS hasn’t been changed since the company was formed (the company number though is obviously correct), we’ll have that updated. I suspect if you looked at many sites records you’d find that they were out of date.

        We changed the company name several years ago, but that’s common enough and something that Alex has done himself in the past I believe and the reasons were not nefarious!

        The broadband limited is a typo in the legalese, we’ll likewise get that updated.

  16. Chris says:

    i decided to check the broadbandchoices.co.uk website and the sentences that strike me are the these.

    “Compare broadband deals in your area” which is in large font on the home page

    “Your postcode lets us find deals available where you live” just under where you enter the postcode.

    I don’t think it is unreasonable that most people would assume from those statements that *all* broadband deals in their area would be shown.

    To my mind it is an implicit all otherwise it should be reworded as follows:-

    “Compare most broadband deals in your area”

    “Your postcode lets us find most of the deals available where you live”

    I’d be happy if next to the big “”Compare broadband deals in your area” it had a something titled “All deals?” in smaller text that you could click on and it went to a page explaining (as Edd has done above) exactly why they don’t / can’t show all deals.

    I also think it is vary disingenuous to say that they can’t display all deals due to money constraints as that, in my mind, plays right into the hands of the bigger players and effectively makes you a “sponsered by xxxx and xxxx etc” website.

    • Dave says:

      Surely ‘most’ means >50%. Have they got more than half of all ISPs listed? Otherwise it should be

      “Compare some broadband deals in your area”

      “Your postcode lets us find some of the deals available where you live”

      • Chris says:

        Hi Dave,

        I pondered this and surmised that they would use the “number of connections” per supplier to arrive at this and given that they do offer all the “big boys” they could argue that “most” is accurate.

        However if you (like me) think “number of suppliers per area” then perhaps “some” would be better.

        Cheers,

        Chris
        (not the same Chris below from simply digital!)

  17. Chris says:

    And don’t get me started on the hot air balloons on the front page!

  18. Chris says:

    Hi Alex, Chris here from Simplifydigital – I look after our retail operation and wanted to briefly clarify the questions/comments about our service.

    Firstly, I’d like to apologise for any lack of clarity you experienced over the phone. We partner with various online broadband comparison sites (including broadband.co.uk) to offer our call centre advice services to their customers, and we do try to make this clear whenever a customer calls us from one of these sites (including using system-prompted unique scripts) – so big apologies this wasn’t made clear to you. Additionally, we also have many other partners using our proprietary Price Comparison Calculator on their own websites. To echo Emily though, we do not partner with Broadbandchoices in either way.

    Our service helps residential customers navigate the myriad of TV, broadband and homephone deals and offers, considering not just price but also other important factors such as data caps, traffic management policies, download speeds, download allowance and availability in the local area, together with lots of other factors – for instance, whether the customer requires a home phone service, and whether they need daytime calls or would like certain TV channels. Our service appeals strongly to less-tech-savvy customers for whom this is difficult to navigate, and is why we are proud to call our agents “experts”. It is just these kind of customers that Ofcom hopes to reassure with its accreditation and, as Edd from broadband.co.uk says in his post, we are happy to use their guidelines as regards market comprehensiveness, the accuracy of the data and the transparency of the algorithm methodology.

    Having a contact centre and selling these services in the way we do is not without its challenges though! Whilst we try our best to ensure our agents are factually correct 100% of the time, we cannot listen to every single call to monitor it. However, we have a very thorough Quality Compliance process ensuring a robust sample of calls are listened to and there are consequences for any ‘failures’ on the call. We have not trained the agents to understand the difference between IPv6 and IPv4 though, and so the lack of advice in this area was absolutely no fault of the agent. We actually do have it on our radar to brief to the team soon (weeks not months) – we have simply felt up until now that it hasn’t been warranted given the nature of the typical calls we receive.

    I hope that helps clarify things a little, and wanted to say thanks for the interest in our services and what we do.

    Kind regards,
    Chris

  19. Hi all,

    I work at Cable.co.uk – one of the Ofcom accredited sites referred to here. Alex has helpfully edited the original post – thanks Alex. Although its a little late I’d just like to add a few points…

    We understand that some of our customers would prefer to speak to someone directly to discuss the various options before they make a decision to buy. As we are a small company, we partner with Simplify Digital to provide this service. We have, on the whole, found this to be satisfactory and have yet to receive negative feedback from customers. That said, clearly Alex’s call resulted in him being given unsatisfactory information and we’ve raised this with Simplify.

    In response to Anthony Pearce’s point regarding the use of affiliate marketing, like many other comparison sites, the majority of the service providers we offer are members of an affiliate network – but this does not mean that we only offer our customers deals or packages which earn a commission. Some service providers and packages offer no commission whatsoever, but we give them equal weighting in our comparison table. We’d be happy to discuss adding additional service providers to our comparison tables, regardless of whether they offer commission – assuming we can be absolutely sure the information is always kept up-to-date, is feasible technically and we can cover our administration costs.

    To come back to another comment Anthony made, “…if ISP A pays out £50 per sale, while ISP B only pays out £30, which are you going to push?”, I can assure you that in the case of Cable.co.uk the answer is always ‘neither’. We pride ourselves on our comparison tables being wholly impartial, regardless of anything else.

    Phil Veale’s suggestion that there is ‘some degree of business bias’ towards some suppliers over others, based on financial considerations, is simply untrue in the case of Cable.co.uk. We order our comparison by the full monthly cost, including the price of line rental, as we feel this is the most important consideration for most users. Also, because of complications such as low introductory fees (which can soon increase), we offer the ability to order the available services by many other metrics such as average monthly cost, first year cost, ‘lifetime’ costs and contract length, in addition to more technical considerations such as speed and usage. We believe enabling users to order and filter what can be a bewildering array of options by using the criteria that are important to them is the best way to ensure they get the most appropriate deal. We’d never compromise this by ordering or filtering in such a way that may be advantageous to ourselves.

    It may also be worth noting that, along with information guides and news articles, we provide opportunities for users to comment and review the providers and their services – and these are by no means always positive. We have no more interest in flattering the major players than we have in promoting their products.

    All the best,

    Miles

  20. Chris says:

    I noticed all the reps fo the companies in question have dodged the main point.

    They claim that because they dont favour listing results they are unbiased, but all they are doing is not favouring one paying isp over another paying isp, they are favouring all the paying isps by refusing to list non paying isps such as aaisp.

    In short I have written to ofcom to ask them to change how things work, anything like this that is sponsored by a government agency should have a requirement to list everyone.

    If I ran one of these sites yes I would take commission when available but like revk says “I like to do things right” meaning I would not refuse non comission based isp’s. I would also have various fields of data listed alongside with a help popup for each one explaing what it means eg. ipv6 ? with popup stating “ipv4 addresses which are used currently have ran out, as a result some services on the internet are ipv6 only and will require a ipv6 address to access, in addition a ipv4 only isp is more likely to leaving you with carrier grade nat only based services in the future” I would list if the isp is filtering any websites, if yes which ones, I would list if they are known to manage traffic. On all of these things I would explain what they mean and why they are bad so user’s of my site would be educated.

    All these accredited sites are is a means to make someone money of refferals and a way to drag customers to the large isps who pay generous commision.

    • Alex Bloor says:

      Thank You Chris.

      I keep meaning to write a Redux to this old post from about a year back. Bascially I did an FoI request on Ofcom to find out if at least the scheme paid for itself (i.e. didn’t cost the tax payers). Very breifly it doesn’t pay for itself. So not only is it a scheme that doesn’t help, it actually costs everyone money.

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