Pipex picked up the award for best consumer broadband provider at last night’s ‘internet Oscars’, pipping rivals NTL, Telewest and Freeserve to the post.

The fifth annual internet industry awards were sponsored by the Internet Service Providers Association and went smoothly despite concern over possible protests by NTL customers. NTL has come in for criticism for restricting the bandwidth available to broadband users, contradicting its nomination in the best broadband provider category.

Judges congratulated Pipex for its price reductions that make it relatively inexpensive for consumers to sign up for broadband access. Pipex offers one of the cheapest monthly broadband subscription charges at 19.99 plus VAT.

The Best unmetered ISP award went to Freeserve for its good value, customer support and the flexibility of its contracts. OneTel won the National Consumer ISP award for its penny-per-minute access tariff.

Google.com scooped up the Best Search Engine award for its clean results and policy of not selling rankings — factors that make it a useful tool for consumers and an excellent partner for ISPs.

The title of Internet Hero was picked up by Richard Allan MP for his ongoing support and understanding of the internet.

Not surprisingly, the Home Office was branded Internet Villain for continuing delays associated with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act, both of which have serious effects on individuals’ rights to privacy.