Internet users were asked to rate several companies as potential broadband providers, pitting established ISP suppliers against TV companies and mobile operators offering 'bundles', as part of the Continental Research's autumn 2006 Convergence Report.
Respondents believed that Sky, which last year bought ISP Easynet for £211m, offered 5.7 out of 10 for its broadband service, compared to the top two companies -- NTL/Telewest at 5.9 out of ten and 6.7 for BT.
Neither Virgin or Orange scored very highlighly as an ISP provider, with 5.1 out of 10 and 4.8 out of ten respectively despite being long-established in the market.
T-Mobile was the least respected company with a rating of just 4.4 out of ten, with Carphone Warehouse not faring much better with 4.5. Carphone Warehouse bought AOL's UK ISP operations in October for £370m.
The report suggests that companies like Sky, BT and Virgin, which have a brand name with appeal beyond their traditional area of business, will look best placed to succeed. Continental's research indicates that as Sky has moved from satellite TV to broadband it looks well placed to win customers.
These brands are beginning to encroach on each other's traditional territories by offering 'bundling', including broadband, TV, fixed-line telephony and mobile phone services, while vying for customers to stay loyal.
'Bundling' appeals to consumers according to the report, with only 15% against receiving these services as a package.
James Myring, associate director at Continental Research, said: "Many commentators are saying that the future of home entertainment and communications lies through a single 'pipe' providing a number of services.
"TV companies are moving into telecoms services and fixed and mobile operators are moving into entertainment and broadband. Some are doing this organically, others by acquisition."
If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum.
This article was first published on brandrepublic.com