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Research: Millions frustrated with bad broadband

Despite a broadband connection being considered a modern day essential, research from UK consumer group Which? research reveals that 12.5 million households are frustrated with poor broadband services.

​To help people to overcome their frustrations, the consumer champion is launching a new speed checker and complaint tool in a drive to get the UK better connected. Which? ​found that many people are plagued by poor connections, dropouts and slow speeds.

Which? research found that 16 million people – or six in 10 (59 per cent) – experience​​d some kind of problem with their home Internet connection in the last year with a “huge” 12.5 million – almost nine in 10 – frustrated as a result. Which? supporters said:

  • “I am unable to carry out my postgraduate research on the Internet with such slow and inconsistent broadband speeds – it’s affecting my education”
  • “These days, broadband is as important as gas, water or electricity. Imagine only having 10 per cent pressure on your water supply!”
  • “It is really frustrating waiting for a website to load or waiting for a film to stream. If a provider claims to have a certain broadband speed, they should provide the service.”

Which? found that four in 10 (38 per cent) of those who experienced internet connection issues have been completely stopped from carrying out one or more online activities​ as a result.

One in five (19 per cent) people said that connection problems have had a negative financial impact on them and three in 10 (31 per cent) said that connection issues meant that online banking and paying bills was either completely prevented or took much longer than usual.

18-24 year olds are significantly more frustrated by poor broadband than any other age group.

To help consumers get better connected, Which? is launching a new campaign to ’Fix Bad Broadband’. The body is calling on people to use its new speed checker to find out their actual broadband speed, complain if they’re not getting what they paid for and help to build a picture of the real speeds and problems people are experiencing across the country.

The new speed checker will allow users to:

  • Test performance: once broadband provider, expected speed and location details are submitted, the speed checker then tells you how your service is performing.
  • Get advice:Which? is providing free tips to help consumers improve their speed and service quickly, without having to contact their provider.
  • Complain: After checking their speed, if people aren’t getting the level of service they’ve paid for, they will be able to complain directly to their provider.

“With millions of us frustrated by​ bad broadband and stopped from doing the simplest of online tasks, we have launched a new, free tool to help people improve their connection,” explained Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Services. “There is nothing more annoying than your Internet cutting out​ when you’re streaming your favourite programme​, ​or ​when you’ve spent ages filling your online ​shopping​ basket but your connection is too slow to get you to the checkout. ​Far too many people are experiencing problems with their broadband across the country and we want to help people to​ fix ​it.”

Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Ofcom-accredited broadband advice site Cable.co.uk, said that the findings that the majority of Britons experienced some sort of Internet issue within the space of a year was “not entirely surprising”, adding that ‘problems’ as a general category vary greatly in severity, from the odd bit of Netflix buffering during peak periods, to full-blown local (or even national) outages.

“Depending on the severity of the problem, then, customers may be within their rights to switch to another provider. Ofcom rules offer a get-out clause if the provider has failed in providing an acceptable level of service. Just as consumers are required to meet monthly payments, providers are obliged to deliver the service we pay for – failure to do this is a breach of contract and may mean you can vote with your feet without fear of cancellation fees,” he advised.

 

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