Close to 5 million consumers suffered a broadband outage lasting more than 3 hours in the past year, with the average affected home offline for more than a day in total
More than a quarter of people (28%) experienced a network outage during working hours, costing the UK 5 million working days - a hit of more than £1.5 billion to the economy
Bristol is Britain’s outage capital, with residents suffering the most time offline during outages and losing nearly three million hours of broadband annually
Two in five consumers (37%) used their mobile phone’s data or tethered to their computer during an outage.
Nearly 5 million consumers have suffered from broadband outages of three hours or more in the past year with the average affected home experiencing more than a day — 29 hours — offline in total, according to Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service.
Millions of people across the country rely on their broadband connections for work and entertainment, even more so in recent months with a quarter of working adults (25%) still working exclusively from home as a result of the pandemic.
Over a quarter of people (28%) were using the internet for work when the outage hit, with the time offline resulting in five million working days being lost. Outages caused by damage to cables or provider issues are costing the economy over one and a half billion pounds a year.
Bristol is Britain’s outage capital, with residents suffering the longest time without broadband per person. Bristolians lost their connection for almost three million hours in total due to outages over the past year.
The longest single outage happened in Leeds, West Yorkshire, with residents reporting an incident lasting 54.4 hours.
Norwich has the highest proportion of residents (15%) affected by their broadband going down over the last year. Meanwhile, Londoners reported the most instances of outages, with more than seven occurring in the past year.
The Welsh capital fares quite differently for outages though. Cardiff experienced the fewest outages in the UK, with only 1% of people having a lost connection in the same period.
Almost two in five consumers (37%) suffering from broadband issues used their mobile phone data or tethered their mobile phone to their laptop or computer, while 5% used their neighbour’s Wi-Fi connection instead. More than a quarter of people (26%) just stopped what they were doing and waited for the broadband to come back online.
Uswitch.com is reminding people of their rights should their broadband be hit by an outage and what they can do if they are suffering from persistent problems from their provider.
It is quite often the case that people believe they are experiencing a network outage when it is simply a problem with their home broadband kit, including their router. Uswitch is advising consumers to contact their provider in the first instance, to see if the problem is unique to their household.
Nick Baker, broadband expert at Uswitch.com, comments: “Close to five million people suffered the frustration of a broadband network outage of 3 or more hours last year. With so many of us still working from home, your broadband going down for even a few hours can be a major disruption with significant consequences.
“Lockdown life has made all of us rely on our broadband more than ever, whether that’s for work, or shopping, entertainment and keeping in touch with friends and family.
“Losing that vital link with the outside world is no minor inconvenience. So internet providers who fail to communicate effectively with their customers during an outage can make a bad situation worse if they leave people in limbo, not knowing when their service might be back online.
“If you believe you have experienced an outage, do not hesitate to contact your provider to make sure the problem is not being caused by a simple problem with your router. Quite often, your provider can tell you over the phone if the problem is unique to your own connection.
“It is worth making a contingency plan so you can keep working if your broadband goes down, whether that’s tethering to your mobile or preparing in advance by downloading essential work and favourite shows to your computer to use offline.”
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Uswitch is one of the UK’s top comparison websites for home services switching, including broadband, mobiles, SIM Only and insurance. We’ve saved consumers over £2.5 billion off their bills since we launched in September 2000.
In 2022, Uswitch launched its free mobile app, Utrack, to help consumers manage their home energy costs. By connecting to their smart meter, users can track their energy usage hourly, get dynamic insights and calculate potential savings with handy tips.
Uswitch is part of RVU, a global group of online brands with a mission to empower consumers to make more confident home services, insurance and financial decisions.