13 million households in broadband slow lane

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%) people experience problems with their broadband.

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

Households are also suffering from poor customer service. A quarter (27%) of people who reported a loss of service and had it resolved waited two days for this, and around one in ten (11%) had no internet for a week or more. We also found three in 10 (31%) 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%) were dissatisfied with how long it took, and one in five (20%) said they contacted their ISP three times or more to resolve a problem.

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

We 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 is an essential part of modern life, yet millions of us are 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.”

Which? is calling on the public to support this campaign by signing its petition to get broadband speed guaranteed:www.which.co.uk/bbspeed

Notes to editor:

1.    Populus, on behalf of Which?, interviewed 2,012 GB adults online between 8th and 9th January 2014. Data was weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

2.    Our research also found that around a third of people (36%) have had intermittent connection drop outs and one in seven (15%) haven’t been able to connect to the internet at all.

3.    Ofcom introduced a revised Broadband Speeds Code of Practice in July 2011.

4.    According to Ofcom figures, three-quarters (76%) of broadband customers say they lack information about the speed that they should be getting (Ofcom’s Technology tracker October-December 2013.)

5.    Ofcom figures also show 83% of British households now have a broadband connection and on average households paid £12 a month for their internet, but the majority also have to pay for line rental which is around £15 a month. Average household costs are from 2012 and were published by Ofcom in March 2013.

6.    We believe that ISPs should not charge consumers when their internet service is down, or they should refund broadband charges, and if a customer doesn’t have internet access for 14 days, they should be allowed to leave their contract without penalty.

7.    Visit the Which? Consumer Rights website to see our guide on how to complain about your broadband speed


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