Tuesday, 5 March 2013

AAISP not one of the "best broadband providers"

Well, I am rather puzzled.

Broadbandchoices.co.uk claim to compare the best deals, and do not include AAISP in their offering.

They told me (as AAISP) that it would be not logistically possible to list us - an odd statement given that other comparison sites manage it. They did not reply to my suggestion that they ask Think Broadband about logistics.

However, oddly, they have told the ASA that they only list the "best" ISPs, implying we are not one of them. Given we have ranked top or 2nd on several comparison sites and were consistently the best scored in independent surveys which BT conducted for several years (and which, sadly, I cannot publish), it seems odd to suggest we are not one of the best ISPs. We are, that is a fact. There are several criteria where, if you need them, none of the choices they include offer, and so we are better than all of them. I think none offer IPv6, so none actually offer internet access based on OFCOMs definition. Hard to see why they do not include us, and perhaps should exclude all the providers they do list.

It is also odd that they seem to say there are criteria they have for listing ISPs. Well, if that is the case I am sure we can meet them. They also, rather oddly, seem to think that dispute resolution is a voluntary code from OFCOM when in fact it is a legal requirement under the Communications Act.

I am also intrigued that the ASA provide their recommendation as "confidential" when I don't believe I have any confidentiality agreement with them or any such duty. Even so, as MD of AAISP I cannot fail to also read it as the director and take offence (as AAISP) to the implication that we are not one of the "best" ISPs.

This needs to go further. AAISP need to formally write to ASA on this case with evidence that we are one on the best ISPs and were not refused listing because of that but because of logistical impossibility.

Personally I suspect the reason we are not listed is we are not paying broadbandchoices.co.uk but that is a personal and cynical viewpoint that I would be delighted to be proved wrong.

The battle commences :-)


  1. *we are not listed is we are not paying broadbandchoices.co.uk"

    That is 100% the case here, same with all comparison sites. They get large commission for sales. Just like top 10 webhosting sites (who always have the bad hosts at the top)

    1. But OFCOM accreditation almost outlaws that, does it not?

    2. "same with all comparison sites"

      Not true. I suppose technically we're more of an information than a pure comparison site, much like TBB, but we list every ISP for free (several hundred in fact) and never charge anybody. The only ISPs we tend to reject are those that don't meet some basic criteria (e.g. the ISP needs to have a real public address, terms & conditions and price details available on their website).

      The downside of this approach is that we’re technically a not-for-profit because the site isn’t setup to make money like the big sites, which also gives us a limited development budget and restricts what we can do/offer.

      The upside is that consumers can get a more realistic reflection of what’s available across the whole market and I also like to think that we’ve hopefully established some credibility for being balanced, albeit ultimately still very pro-consumer orientated. So all comparison sites don’t take cash for listings.


    3. Indeed - if they were honest, claiming to compare "some of the major players" or some such, I would not have a gripe. It is the fact they are misleading people in to thinking they are an impartial site and comparing "the packages available where you live" that I dislike. Hence my ASA complaint in the first place.

  2. I still don't understand ASA stand point

    The advert clearly says "all" which is clearly a lie, and false advertising

    Whether or not they include AAISP is (somewhat) irrelevant.

    Have you thought of getting a few ISPs together and submitting a combined complaint?

    1. May be worth a try - this blog is read by many and happy to try and co-ordinate this if any want to email me.

    2. I agree - the site clearly says, under "Why should I use a comparison service", that they "...display all of your options...". Quite clearly they don't.

  3. I suspect they really have logistical issues... as a basic search on my postcode returns:


    Failed to contact the origin.

    Generated Tue, 05 Mar 2013 19:23:09 GMT
    Request ID: osS7ss5W1ATEmuFBRKudXN5-RdBTsIZ20hUzzK6cOZaWurhkPkkQvg==

    ROFL... definitely not the best comparison site!

  4. If they were only to list the 'best' ISPs then they'd have to delist BT Broadband, TalkTalk, etc.

    So it's a silly argument for them to make.

  5. Obviously, you're all missing their definition of "best".

    In this instance it means best paying :)

  6. Rev - get on iPlayer later and take a listen to a segment on the price of broadband (starring a chap from broadbandchoices.co.uk...) on the John Beattie programme (Radio Scotland, 6th March, around 1215 - so 15' in)

  7. Many comparison websites review based upon you subscribing to them to be reviewed and listed. I don't like those sites and much prefer those where the customer states why an ISP is good, bad or indifferent. Yes they can be manipulated but overall you'll get a fairly decent perspective on whose the good/bad ones are and why. That's why personally I've always looked at Think BB and ISP review.

    Similarly Ofcom don't help matters when they have a broadband speeds testing programme that excludes many medium to smaller ISP's on the grounds that they can't test everyone and that those they do test make up the biggest proportion of the market in the UK so therefore it's representative of what's actually going on across the UK broadband landscape. Like hell it is because ISP's like yours and ours are offering excellent service and good quality broadband lines to its customers and who could be forgiven for thinking Virgin are the best because 1. Ofcom supports that view and 2. They and the ASA allow them to advertise their top spot citing their speed testing programme as an endorsement.

    Customers are the ones who matter in comparisons and they tell in real world terms how their product is performing and that's good enough an endorsement for me as is a good enough kick in the pants when we need to fix something.