Press release:

From postcode average to precise address – uSwitch to launch first cross provider, property-specific broadband speeds tool

  • New tool will show exactly what services are available, alongside accurate broadband speed range specific to each individual property – rather than a national average
  • Agreement reached with Openreach and work ongoing with infrastructure providers including Virgin Media, Hyperoptic and others
  • Superfast broadband[1] is available to 95% of homes[2] yet just half (56%) are aware[3]
  • uSwitch.com now working with providers to interpret data ahead of launch early next year.

In an industry first, uSwitch.com is set to launch an address-specific broadband tool, allowing households to get a true picture of what broadband speeds are available at their home. The tool is a game changer for consumers and a successful end to a three-year connectivity campaign by the price comparison and switching service.

At present, consumers looking to check their available broadband speeds across providers are only able to see an average for their local area which can vary significantly by property, even within a given postcode. For most people, the average speed quoted does not represent the actual speeds available to their property.

All this is set to change, however, as uSwitch has led a cross-industry effort, including with communications providers and the regulator Ofcom, resulting in an agreement with Openreach. Work is ongoing with other infrastructure providers including Virgin Media, Hyperoptic and others to enable uSwitch to use their property-specific speed data to build a new comparison tool[4].

uSwitch’s new tool will let consumers see exactly what speeds providers can supply to their address, helping them determine whether they can access a better service at their home. For example, only half (56%) of households are currently aware that superfast broadband is available to them[2], despite the fact that it is now available to over 95% of properties[3].

The introduction of end of contract and out of contract notifications from February 2020, and increasing investment in full-fibre propositions by many retail providers, gives broadband providers the opportunity to help customers upgrade to faster, more reliable speeds.

uSwitch is now working to roll out the new tool, featuring participating retail communications providers, to consumers as soon as possible.

Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at uSwitch.com, says: “This is a milestone moment in the broadband comparison market, with uSwitch’s new tool potentially revolutionising how consumers shop for their broadband online.

“Households have endured years of frustration, seeing a particular speed advertised and thinking this applies to their property, only to find that they are too far away from the cabinet to get the fastest speeds.

“But today, with increased choices and multiple fibre options, consumers need a simple place where they can get a clear idea of what’s actually available to their home.

“We are proud to have campaigned on behalf of consumers and brought the broadband industry with us, and this exciting, free service will soon be available for everyone to use.

“We want all broadband providers, especially those increasingly offering ultrafast speeds, to grasp this opportunity to transform broadband comparison journeys, driving take-up of better services for customers.”

Katie Milligan, Openreach MD for Customer Commercial & Propositions, says:

“We’re rolling out our full fibre network providing the fastest and most reliable broadband available in the UK – at breakneck speed building to 23,000 premises per week – that’s one home every 26 seconds. We’re committed to being open about our build plans to keep people informed and this new tool will really help support that.

“But despite all this investment into building better broadband – there’s still a worryingly big gap in awareness of what people can get. In fact, 14 million homes and businesses in the UK that can order a better service over our network today, but haven’t yet upgraded. This tool should really help to close that gap and help people make a properly informed choice.”

— ends —

Notes to editors

Opinium surveyed a sample of 2,002 UK adults from the 30th August to 3rd September 2019. Results have been weighted to reflect a nationally representative criteria.

  1. Superfast broadband is broadband delivered either partially or entirely by fibre optic cables.
  2. Ofcom data shows that superfast broadband is available to 95% of properties in the UK.
  3. Respondents were asked ‘Is super fast broadband available in your area?’ 1121 people said ‘Yes’. 1121 out of 2002 = 56%.
  4. uSwitch is working with the retail broadband providers to map the infrastructure information to products consumers can buy, ensuring consumers can get an aggregated view of exactly what is available and speed estimates are by products for their specific property, in the same way as if a customer run a line checker result across multiple providers.

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