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Almost 20 million consumers have experienced speed-related issues with their broadband service

Written by Ernest Doku

20 February 2020

  • More than seven-in-ten (71%) of households – 19.6 million – have experienced speed-related issues with their broadband service, despite superfast broadband being available to 95% of UK premises

  • Almost a third (31%) of consumers have suffered from buffering at home when downloading videos or music. While almost four-in-ten (37%) have experienced slow loading internet pages

  • One-in-six (16%) said their broadband crashes regularly, and more than a third (36%) have suffered from their internet disconnecting

  • Two fifths (39%) of consumers don’t know if they can get superfast broadband in their area and more than a third (38%) are in the dark about the speed of their broadband connection

  • In an industry first, Uswitch.com launches service telling consumers exactly what broadband speed they can get at their home across multiple providers — rather than average figures for their postcode.

Almost 20 million households have experienced speed-related issues with their broadband service, despite superfast broadband being available to 95% of UK premises, according to new research from Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service.

Close to a third (31%) of consumers have suffered from buffering when downloading videos or music over their home broadband connection. Almost four-in-ten (37%) have experienced slow loading pages. More than a quarter (27%) said they have experienced slow download speeds.

Many users have found reliability issues still persist, with one-in-six (16%) having to put up with their broadband crashing regularly. More than a third (36%) have suffered from their internet suddenly disconnecting, due to faulty equipment or a slow/poor broadband connection.

Many consumers could be enjoying much faster broadband speeds but a lack of awareness of what is available in their area is leaving millions paying for slower connectivity. There is also a lack of understanding about the difference between regular, superfast and ultrafast broadband and what speeds they can deliver.

The industry has work to do on educating customers, as almost four in ten broadband users (38%) aren’t aware how fast their connection is. Two fifths of consumers (39%) don’t know if it is possible to get superfast broadband in their postcode. While, more than half (57%) don’t know the download speed that their internet provider says they should be able to achieve.

Four in ten consumers (44%) don’t actually know the difference between regular, superfast and ultrafast broadband, meaning many will not be able to evaluate whether a deal is good value or not.

Regular or ADSL broadband generally averages a speed of 11Mbps (megabits per second). Superfast broadband offers speeds over 30Mbps, while ultrafast broadband is a connection with speeds of more than 300Mbps.

In an industry first, Uswitch.com is helping consumers make educated decisions about broadband deals with a new web-based tool that reveals the exact connection speeds of packages they can get at their address.

Ernest Doku, broadband expert at Uswitch.com, comments: “It’s concerning that there are still millions of households suffering day-to-day with sluggish or unreliable broadband connectivity, either too slow to do many online tasks, or drops off without any warning. 

“There continues to be a clear disconnect when it comes to the poor broadband connection speeds endured by many. More awareness and education is needed in terms of service availability, what those services offer and how much they will cost.

“With superfast broadband available across 95% of the country, far less of us should be struggling with slow internet speeds and a patchy connection in 2020. Not everyone will want to pay for superfast broadband, but they should at least be able to easily find out what’s available so they can make an informed decision.

“It’s also important to carry out your own research, and have a rough idea of what service you need from your broadband to ensure you get the best possible deal for your needs. 

“Terms like superfast and ultrafast can be confusing, and with the full fibre rollout gathering pace it is only likely to get more complex. Therefore it has never been more important to cut through the jargon and get a real view of the services that can actually make a difference to your everyday life. 

“Our new Network Checker is designed to do just that. It will help you better understand what services are available at your home, so you can see exactly what’s on offer and get the best deal for everyone in your home.”

Find out how you could save nearly £1,000 a year with Uswitch here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Rory Stoves

Phone: 020 3872 5613

Email: rory.stoves@uswitch.com

Twitter: @uSwitchPR

Notes to editors

Opinium surveyed a sample of 2,000 UK adults from the 4th to 8th October 2019. Results have been weighted to reflect a nationally representative criteria

  1. Respondents were asked ‘Have you experienced broadband-related issues at home?’ 71% said ‘they have experienced speed-related broadband issues at home’. The Office for National Statistics reports there are 27.6 million households in the UK. 71% of 27.6 million = 19.6 million households have experienced speed-related broadband issues at home.

  2. Ofcom Connected Nations 2019

  3. Respondents were asked ‘Have you experienced broadband-related issues at home?’ 31% said ‘they have faced buffering (of music/video) at home’.

  4. Respondents were asked ‘Have you experienced broadband-related issues at home?’ 37% said ‘they have experienced slow loading pages’.

  5. Respondents were asked ‘Have you experienced broadband-related issues at home?’ 16% said ‘they have found their broadband crashes regularly’.

  6. Respondents were asked ‘Have you experienced broadband-related issues at home?’ 36% said ‘they have experienced their internet disconnecting’.

  7. Respondents were asked ‘Do you know if it is possible to get superfast broadband in your postcode?’ 39% replied ‘Don’t know’. 

  8. Respondents were asked ‘Do you know what speed your broadband is?’ 38% replied ‘Don’t know’.

  9. The Real Deal broadband checker uses data from TalkTalk, Virgin, Post Office and Hyperoptic to deliver the exact broadband speed that can be achieved at a specific property. Tool is a beta version.

  10. Respondents were asked ‘Do you know what download speed your internet provider says you should be able to achieve? 57% replied ‘No’.’

  11. Respondents were asked ‘Do you know the difference between ultrafast, superfast and regular broadband?’ 44% replied ‘No’. 

  12. Ofcom defines superfast broadband as any connection that operates between 30 and 300 Mbps, and ultrafast networks as those that operate above 300Mbps.

  13. Respondents were asked ‘Do you know which of these internet systems might be able to achieve ‘superfast’ broadband?’ ultrafast, superfast and regular broadband?’ 16% replied ‘ADSL/copper/standard’. 

  14. Respondents were asked ‘Do you know which of these internet systems might be able to achieve ‘superfast’ broadband?’ ultrafast, superfast and regular broadband?’ 34% were ’unsure what system can achieve superfast broadband’

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