The simple answer is nobody really knows, because everyone’s experiences are different. For every unhappy customer using a particular ISP I am sure there are at least ten who are happy or don’t care enough to have an opinion. Basically until now the only way to judge if it was worth going with an ISP was that the deal was better than your current provider and that there wasn’t a barrage of bad press. However that is about to change because Sam from Samknows.com has been busy analysing a handful of ISPs across the country to get a much more accurate picture on how the services offered technically compare.
What he has done is distribute over 200 dedicated boxes to consumers all over the country and then analysed their connections with a number of tests over a few months. This has allowed him for the first time to get an independent view of the performance of the UK consumer network. His report makes interesting reading for those who like lots of detail: http://www.samknows.com/broadband/pm/PM_Summer_08.pdf
Zen seems to have come out on top which is good considering we recommend them to small companies that can’t quite manage to afford our services. I will have a chat with Sam and see if he is interested in doing the same with the business networks because I think that would be just as interesting.