Finding an ethical broadband provider
The main ethical issues with broadband are energy use, carbon emissions, the environmental impact of internet routers, social inequality (through access and price tariffs) and tax avoidance. There is a big difference between the best and worst for ethics.
The broadband providers in the scoretable
There was a time when pretty much all internet connections had to use a BT phoneline. Then Virgin came along and built its own network to rival BT. Now there are places where six or seven lines may have been laid by different companies in the same street.
Big investors have backed various ‘alt-net’ companies, in the hope they’ll become the next big name in broadband infrastructure. But the reality may be that many of the smaller companies go bust or get bought out.
Two new fibre companies are included in our updated scoretable, Hyperoptic and Community Fibre. Hyperoptic is backed by KKR, who own Upfield, the company behind Flora margarine, but also invest in pharmaceuticals and have even backed a tear gas producer.
Community Fibre is 32% controlled by DTCP, the investment arm of Deutsche Telekom, which is the largest telecommunications provider in Europe, and 32% by Warburg Pincus, an American investment company that boasts of its 30+ years’ experience in the fossil fuel industry, among other things.
Shell Energy used to be owned by oil giant Shell plc but in December 2023 it was bought by Octopus Energy which improved its score by 520%.
Also new on the scoretable is Onestream, a much smaller company which is not attempting to win the infrastructure race and doesn’t have big name backing.