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UK consumer body: ‘Guarantee broadband speed’

March 21, 2014

By Colin Mann

UK consumer publication Which? is calling on broadband providers to give customers the speed and service they pay for as new Which? research finds that around three in five (63 per cent) people experience problems with their broadband.

Its research also reveals that nearly half (45 per cent) of people suffer slow download speeds, with 58 per cent of them saying they experience this frequently or all the time.

Households are also suffering from poor customer service. A quarter (27 per cent) of people who reported a loss of service and had it resolved waited two days for this, and around one in ten (11 per cent) had no Internet for a week or more. Which? also found three in 10 (31 per cent) who contacted their provider with a problem said they did not get a resolution at all, a quarter of those who did get a resolution (25 per cent) were dissatisfied with how long it took, and one in five (20 per cent) said they contacted their Internet Service Providers (ISP) three times or more to resolve a problem.

Which? is campaigning for ISPs to ‘Give us Broadband Speed Guaranteed’ so that customers get the speed and service they pay for.

Which? want broadband companies to:

  • Give customers written speed estimates at the start of the contract, with an accurate estimate for their home.
  • Allow people to exit contracts without penalty if they don’t get the minimum speed estimated at any point in their contract.
  • Fix loss of connection as quickly as possible and refund people for loss of service.
  • Cut out the jargon – give consumers information they understand and take responsibility for fixing problems.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said the Internet was an essential part of modern life, yet millions of people were getting frustratingly slow speeds and having to wait days to get reconnected when things go wrong.

“It’s less superfast broadband, more super slow service from companies who are expecting people to pay for speeds they may never get. Broadband providers need to give customers the right information and take responsibility for resolving problems,” he declared.

Which? is calling on the public to support this campaign by signing its petition to get broadband speed guaranteed:

Responding to the Which? demand, Joe Lathan, director of broadband at Virgin Media, said that with the fastest broadband speeds and the highest customer satisfaction according to Ofcom, the operator welcomed Which? joining its long-standing call for greater transparency. “We know how important broadband is to people which is why we continue to boost speeds for our customers. Broadband from Virgin Media is five times faster than BT’s regular broadband and we regularly deliver speeds even faster than we advertise,” he asserted.

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