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Internet Quality Drops Across UK During Covid-19 Lockdown

David Paul

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internet quality

A recent YouGov survey shows that a third of British residents had worse internet since the start of the March 23rd lockdown.

Polling has revealed that, since the UK Government’s announcement that Brits were to remain at home during Covid-19, there has been a marked drop in internet quality across the country.

Around one-third (35%) of British residents have noticed a quality drop while 7% said their household connection was much worse than before, despite assurances by providers that internet service would remain strong despite the lockdown conditions,

Since lockdown began, there has been a huge increase in internet usage, with 73% of respondents saying that they have been using their connection more than usual.

The survey carried out on the 18th and 19th of May noted that 69% of UK adults reported difficulty with general internet activity such as browsing while two-thirds (67%) said that they had experienced disruption while streaming video and audio content.

Dan Howdle, a consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, commented on the survey: “While it’s easy to take such results on face value and assume that connectivity has been measurably worse while we’re all locked indoors, both Openreach and Virgin Media have stated that there have been no network capacity issues to report.

“In fact, our broadband networks have remained robust and reliable during this crisis,” he said.

“With many of us spending a great deal more time online, it’s easy to see why we might encounter more problems than at other times.

“YouGov’s report, while an excellent measure of public opinion, has no way to factor an increase in issues due to increased exposure to online activity.

“You’re more likely to encounter a problem after 10 hours on the internet than after one hour on the internet, and this would be the case lockdown or not – what is certain is that UK broadband infrastructure can, and has, coped extremely well in this crisis.”

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Before lockdown (March 17th) the companies said that the increased demand was not an issue for their services, although according to this poll, that appears to not always be the case.

In late March, several British telecoms companies such as Sky, Virgin Media and BT agreed to remove caps on their connection during the lockdown period to keep people connected.

At the time, Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach commented: “With connections to more than 24 million customer premises across the UK, we know our network is critical.

“We’ll do everything we can to keep people connected while prioritising our support for critical public services, vulnerable customers and those without a working line.

“Thankfully a large amount of the work we do – including fixing faults, adding capacity and building faster, more reliable full-fibre networks – can be completed outside, so you’ll still see Openreach engineers working to maintain service across the UK.”

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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