News

06.04.17

60% of households report poor broadband speeds despite £700m council investment

Around 59% of households – a total of 16 million nationwide – experienced problems with their broadband last year, a survey conducted by consumer champion Which? has revealed.

Of those affected, three in 10 said the issues made it more difficult to perform simple tasks like paying bills or accessing online banking, whilst 19% said that the problems had a negative financial impact on them.

The watchdog released the figures to coincide with the launch of a new campaign called Fix Bad Broadband, designed to help consumers get better connected and hold providers to account.

Which? managing director of home services, Alex Neill, said: “Far too many people are experiencing problems with their broadband across the country and we want to help people to​ fix ​it.

“There is nothing more annoying than your internet cutting out​ when you’re streaming your favourite programme​, ​or ​when you’ve spent ages filling your online ​shopping​ basket but your connection is too slow to get you to the checkout. ​

“With millions of us frustrated by​ bad broadband and stopped from doing the simplest of online tasks, we have launched a new, free tool to help people improve their connection.”

The tool allows consumers to test their connection and quickly and conveniently complain directly to their broadband provider.

Cllr Gillian Brown, vice chair of the LGA's People and Places Board, argued that access to fast and reliable digital connectivity was a necessity for households, adding that the research reinforced councils’ warning that advertised broadband speeds, which are only available to 10% of customers, were misleading, and often didn't reflect the experience of many users, particularly those in remote rural areas.

“Councils want to ensure everyone has good-quality internet access,” she stated. “As part of our Up to Speed campaign, we have called for greater honesty and openness about the download and upload speeds customers are likely to receive depending on their location.

“Local government has invested more than £740m in the roll-out of Superfast Broadband to over four million premises across the country and is committed to exploring with the communications industry, regulators and government how best to ensure residents across the country can benefit from public investment in new technology wherever they live.”

Today’s news follows continued efforts from local authorities to crack down on providers not meeting their promises for reaching broadband speeds.

In July last year, the LGA called for a minimum broadband speed to be enshrined in law in order to press companies to make more of an effort to ensure speeds are consistent and quick across the country, and not just in larger towns and cities.

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