Report finds majority of UK households experience problems with broadband despite price hike

Over half of UK’s households have, in the last 12 months, experienced a problem with their broadband, with slow speeds being the most common problem. This has been revealed in a report by Which?. A majority of British households have experienced a problem and are ostensibly paying for a service they actually haven’t received. The study was based on 1,700 respondents since last October and found 53% have had a problem. The worst affected customers were from Virgin Media (61%), TalkTalk (60%), Sky (56%) and BT (54%).

Some 38% of Virgin customers’ top complaint was the price hike, whereas 33% of TalkTalk customers and BT’s 22% of customers experienced very slow speeds on broadband. In fact, 1 in 5 of broadband users overall had suffered a problem with speed, but 17% have been affected by frequent dropouts, with 12% facing a fault with their wireless router and 8% of customers had suffered outage for hours or days, at a time.

Ofcom, the telecoms regulater, recently began a consultation on an updated version of the ‘code of practice’ that aimed at giving customers better information about what they can expect with speeds at the point of sale, as well as strengthening the right to a penalty-free exit, if speeds go below a guaranteed minimum level. Which?, the consumer watchdog, had campaigned for changes in rules, to stop the confusing ads on broadband promising speeds that will never be received by customers and is also calling for not just 10%, but for the speeds that are promised in ads.

MD of Home Products & Services at Which?, Alex Neill, said too many people are getting a poor deal from their broadband suppliers, with problems experienced, starting from very slow speeds, to days together without a connection at all, which is just not good enough. He wanted the regulator to deliver on its plan to improve on the information about speeds being given to customers on sign-up and on allowing them to exit a contract easily, if they don’t get what has been promised to them. Those customers not satisfied of the level of service they are getting, should opt to switch, he added.

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