UK broadband customers regularly experience poor performance, bad customer service and a distinct lack of reliability in their services, according to a recent survey by Which?
Between December 2017 and January 2018, Which? asked over 1,900 customers from 12 different providers what problems they experienced with their broadband services, as well as their customer service experiences.
According to the survey, over three in five households had reported a problem within the last year. These issues include price hikes, poor speeds and connection dropouts.
Are Britain’s consumers being sold sub-par services by broadband providers?
Price Hikes? Yikes!
The most common complaint by customers were price increases, with one in five stating that they were now paying more for services that often did not meet their standards. Virgin Media customers are most likely to have experienced issues with their broadband, specifically pricing, with nearly three quarters not satisfied with the overall service.
According to the survey nearly 50% of Virgin Media customers were not satisfied with price increases. Behind Virgin follows Sky Broadband and BT Broadband services as the most complained about service providers; with price increases again being the biggest issue for consumers.
That’s three of the UK’s biggest broadband providers hiking prices and providing below-par services to consumers.
A Need for Speed
Broadband speed affects us all. Mindlessly gazing at your screen in despair while your internet strolls along is soul destroying. One would imagine this problem has been addressed by broadband providers, however it hasn’t as the second most complained about issue was the speed of broadband; or there lack of it.
Talk Talk Broadband scored lowest among consumers in this category, with 30% complaining they experienced very slow internet speeds. Close behind ranked Post Office and SSE broadband services, with nearly 30% and over 25% experiencing issues respectively.
Over 20% of both BT and Vodafone customers also experienced slow internet speeds.
Last year’s survey by Which? proved that you don’t always have to follow big brands to receive great broadband services. Companies such as Zen and Utility Warehouse both scored high approval ratings with consumers, with Zen in particular ranked best for speed.
What Can Be Done?
Which? explains that for consumers to find the best deal on broadband, they need to shop around. If you’re not satisfied with your current service then changing to another provider can help. But simply changing may not solve the underlying issue of broadband reliability in the UK.
Graeme Gordon, CEO of IFB.net, believes the issues facing broadband today are due to outdated infrastructure. He told DIGIT: “The underlying technology behind the majority of UK broadband connections is still copper based.
“That’s okay much of the time but due the age and physics around this sometimes it’s just an old connection, in street cabinet it junction box on the street or up a pole or phone exchange that work its way loose or gets damp.
Copper-based broadband connections lag behind fibre, and although a concerted move toward fibre wiring is happening nationwide, there will still be customers temporarily left behind. Gordon insisted that as “as an ISP we see all of this every day and it’s massively frustrating for us” as the focus of providers is focused solely on consumer satisfaction.
Although services are progressively improving, Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home and Legal Services says broadband providers still have work to do in offering reliable services, stating: “It’s clear that too many households are still suffering from substandard broadband, and our research shows that providers have a long way to go before they meet their customers’ expectations.”