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Talk Talk and Sky ‘lowest in broadband league table’

BRITAIN’S largest broadband providers are the most likely to be offering subscribers a bad deal, a study has shown.

TalkTalk and Sky both achieved a customer score of just 50 per cent, leaving them at the bottom of the Which? survey of more than 8,000 people.

Criticism of TalkTalk centred on its customer service and technical support, with the firm failing to score well in any category, including value for money.

TalkTalk customers were also the most likely to suffer from very slow speeds (27 per cent) and frequent connection dropouts (21 per cent) in the last 12 months.

Sky fared slightly better, but more than two in three of its customers told Which? they were likely to switch provider. More than one in five Sky customers (22 per cent) also said they had experienced issues with very slow connection speeds.

Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, said: ‘It’s outrageous that the biggest providers are still letting their customers down with shoddy broadband, especially when we know that long-standing customers are the most likely to be overpaying.

‘Anyone unhappy with their provider should take back control and switch to a better deal — you could get better service and save hundreds of pounds a year.’

BT received a ‘dismal’ 51 per cent, with customers particularly unhappy about value for money. Virgin Media scored higher with 58 per cent, but its customers were the most likely to complain about price increases.

A TalkTalk spokesman said: ‘While these results are disappointing, we are already seeing more customers than ever staying with us as we continue rolling out major service improvements.’

Virgin Media said it is investing around £1billion a year on its network, adding: ‘We are committed to delivering a first-class service to our customers.’

Sky was contacted for comment.

Green light for First Utility in Shell rebrand

Big switch: Shell Energy’s ‘green plug’ advertises the renewable energy now supplied to all new and existing customers PICTURE: PINPEP

FIRST Utility has been renamed Shell Energy following news that all of its British residential electricity supply is now fully renewable.

The brand change comes a year after Royal Dutch Shell bought the challenger in a surprise move that has seen the oil and gas giant go head-to-head with the ‘big six’ energy firms.

Shell said renewable electricity will now be offered as standard to all customers on all tariffs. It will also offer customers a three per cent discount at forecourts.

Chief executive Colin Crooks said Shell was ‘building on the disruptive nature of First Utility to give customers something better’.

Brexit hits financial services confidence

OPTIMISM in the financial services sector has fallen at the quickest rate in six years, says research.

Confidence has been flat or falling in the three years since the EU referendum, says the survey of 84 companies. It showed falling business volumes and employment, with a sharp decline in banking jobs.

But profits grew and that trend is expected to continue, the CBI and PwC study said.

CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said alarm bells ‘have now reached a deafening level’ and called on MPs to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

Business Bites

■ BANK loans to smaller companies fell in more than half of the UK in the past year, a study says. The biggest falls came in former industrial centres, research for debt adviser Hadrian’s Wall Capital showed.

■ CONTRACTORS with sought-after skills have enjoyed recent pay rises up to 75 per cent above the UK average, a study says. They can earn £255 a day in construction and £244 in engineering, found CV-Library.

■ FEVER-TREE is set to post a rise in profits after a strong summer and Christmas. The mixer company is forecast to report a 32 per cent increase in earnings to £77.5million, and a 39 per cent jump in sales.

■ THE number of over-50s in work has risen by almost a third to 10.4million over the past decade. There are 500,000 women older than 65 in the workplace, double the figure in 2009, said job site Rest Less.

■ MORE than a million homes could be built on brownfield sites to help meet housing demand, preventing the loss of countryside, says the Campaign to Protect Rural England. It estimates two thirds could be built within five years.