We aren't claiming that our informal study is representative of the whole of the UK. But at the same time, we don’t think anyone would argue with the result.
Nearly half of our study respondents (48 per cent) cited slow speeds as their number-one broadband bugbear, making it the aspect of broadband service provision that's most irksome to UK web users.
That’s almost double the figure polled by our second-most common complaint – unreliable broadband connections - which got 24 per cent of the vote.
These two themes – speed and reliability – are what we hear about over and over from the users of our site.
It used to be that they judged an ISP purely on the speed it offered. But we’ve noticed that as speeds have become consistently faster across the board – with first 8Mb and now 24Mb becoming standard – the reliability of the service has become increasingly important too.
The survey’s results also highlighted some changes in how we’re using the internet.
More and more people are using the net on mobile devices in their own homes, such as laptops and iPhones, rather than traditional desktop PCs. That could well explain why 13 per cent of people said a weak wireless broadband signal as their chief inter-irritant.
And the increasing popularity of online gaming is proven by the fact that 11 per cent said a poor ‘ping speed’ was their biggest complaint.
Ping speeds measure how long it takes the network to send the packets of information that make up what we see on our computer screen. A slow ping speed means it takes longer for this data to travel up and down the line, resulting in pauses and delays which impair the gaming experience.
Interestingly, we even saw some people saying something more basic – like setting up online billing (two per cent) or setting up an email address linked to their ISP (two per cent) – was their main complaint.
That’s a reminder, if we needed it, that not everyone is so tech-savvy and that the smallest things can still annoy us if they aren’t easy to do online.