Over Half of Broadband Users Have Woeful Connection, Survey Says 

Which? Have recently surveyed nearly 4000 broadband customers from differing Internet Service Providers to find out what issues customers are facing when it comes to staying connected. 

Internet issues like slow speeds and connections that dropped out were rather commonplcae over the past year, with 53% of respondents saying they had experienced some kind of connection issue. 

And the worst ISP on the list? Sky Broadband. 

Which ISP’s Are the Worst?

Of the 12 ISP’s listed in the survey, Sky Broadband (32%), Virgin Media (35%) and EE (37%) had the lowest percentage of customers reporting ‘no issues.’ 

Out of the most well known Internet Service Providers, BT came off the best, with nearly half (49%) of survey customers not experiencing a single connection issue in the past year. 

Similarly, Hyperoptic, Shell Energy and Utility Warehouse also did well with at least half of their customers (if not more) also reporting 12 whole months (January 2022 to January 2023) without a single performance issue. 

However, of the rest of the customer’s, at least 4 in 10 did experience at least one issue in the survey period. 

What are the Most Common Broadband Issues?

The most commonly reported connection problem in the survey was ‘frequent drop outs’ which affected 19% of the respondents. 

Almost as prevalent amongst the reported internet issues was ‘a very slow speed’ and a connection that was ‘slow to download or upload files’ (17% and 15% respectively). 

How Does This Survey Compare to Ofcom Stats?

Data from Ofcom actually paint quite a different picture when it comes to the service of internet providers. 

Official complaints to Ofcom about ISP’s have Sky as one of the providers that have the least issues from customers. According to Ofcom data, Shell Energy were the worst offender. 

It’s important to remember that Ofcom data is based on actual complaints from disgruntled customers. The survey by Which? surveyed just under 4000 customers of various ISP’s and was somewhat more anecdotal. 

We also need to bear in mind that not all of the issues reported in the survey could purely be down to bad broadband. Home networks can be affected by poor configuration (placing your router somewhere silly, for example), local network congestion, poor Wi-Fi (the transmission of the signal from the router to the device). There are scenarios where it wouldn’t be the ISP’s fault, so the survey would need to take a bit of a closer look. 

What do the ISP’s Have to Say in Response to the Which? Survey?

Here’s what the ISP’s have to say on the topic.

A spokesperson for Sky said:

“We are committed to providing the best service to our customers. We do not believe this is a representative survey – Ofcom’s quarterly complaints data shows we are consistently one of the least complained about broadband providers and, in Ofcom’s latest report, we received the fewest complaints out of all broadband providers.”

A spokesperson for Virgin Media said:

“While these findings are only taken from a small sample of customers, the latest, fuller data from Ofcom shows that our customers benefit from the fastest download speeds, and customer complaints on our broadband services fell by 22% in the first quarter of this year. Only last month we were rated the ‘Best in Test’ in Umlaut’s broadband benchmarking survey, ahead of other major providers.

With demand for connectivity higher than ever, we’re investing billions of pounds each year to upgrade and improve our networks to ensure we’re providing our customers with fast and reliable broadband services they can rely on. Customers are receiving more value than ever from their telecoms services, and we continue to invest in every area of our business to ensure we continue to improve and deliver an excellent customer experience.”

A spokesperson for EE said:

“Ofcom’s latest complaints report shows that we remain one of the least complained about broadband providers, with complaints remaining well below the industry average throughout recent years.

We remain committed to providing the best customer service across the industry and ensuring our customers get value for money as the UK’s best network. Our teams across the UK and Ireland already provide the most personal and local service in contact centres and retail stores across the country.

We have proudly led the way with social tariffs since 2008, with around 80% of the total market being supported on BT social tariffs. Customers who are struggling financially and are eligible for our social tariffs can move penalty-free at any point in their contract, this also includes EE and Plusnet customers.”

CEO of Zen Internet, said:

“Our industry unfortunately has a poor reputation for managing customer expectations and being transparent with communications, and introducing price rises mid-contract at a time when everyone is struggling with household bills does nothing to improve this. With price rises based on a 10.1% CPI rate, and the above inflation addition of typically 3.9%, that amounts to a substantial additional burden to household budgets.

We are not immune to the inflationary forces impacting supply chains and wages, but we all recognise that customers need as fair a deal as we can offer. Zen’s response to this challenge for residential customers is the Contract Price Promise – a promise not to increase prices for the length of the contract period.

When it comes to customer service, Zen was the only provider to score four stars in all seven categories in the Which? survey – connection speed and reliability, customer service, value for money, technical support, ease/speed of contact and ease of set up. We have topped the table for eight years and are the only Which? Recommended Provider for Broadband. It’s not always easy, but we will always work to ensure we provide an industry leading service and support our customers when they need it most, rather than prioritising profit-driven price hikes that only benefit shareholders.”

CEO and Co-Founder of Lit Fibre, said:

“The findings from the Which? report published yesterday are not surprising. Broadband providers have become complacent regarding poor customer service. Taking time to explain how customers can get the best experience ‘in home’ from their wifi setup is also top of our agenda as we know most customers need our expertise with this.

At Lit Fibre we put customer service and reliable internet first from the outset, it’s the bare minimum we think customers should be expecting. We’ve earnt our 5 stars on Trustpilot by providing customers with a consistently high quality and personal service, an average call pick-up time of 20 seconds, no bots and no mid-contract price hikes, so we know it’s possible for the industry to do so much better.”

How’s Your Broadband?

Which side of the fence would you be sat on – No internet issues, or frustratingly slow speeds and drop outs?

If you’re experiencing Wi-Fi woes and your broadband just isn’t cutting it, get in touch with one of our Wi-Fi engineers today. 

Whether your home and business are in a rural area and you’re struggling for a broadband connection, or your office broadband is buffering and inhibiting your business productivity – We can help.

Our expert Wi-Fi engineers can make sure you get the connection you need – Whether it’s mobile broadband via 4G or better placed routers and AP’s.

Contact us today and let’s get you better connected. 

Can My ISP Increase My Broadband Price Mid-Contract? 

Are you aware of your broadband contract clauses and how they could affect you? 

We all know that we should read the small print before signing on the dotted line – But how many of us actually do so? Especially when it comes to contracts from broadband and phone providers.

Perhaps with the current cost of living crisis, more people are being careful about what they are signing up for, and whether they should expect mid-contract increases in fees and exit costs. But what if you signed up before all the other household bills started to rise?

With households all over the country feeling the pinch, especially at this time of year, a mid-contract price increase is the last thing people need. But are broadband providers actually allowed to do this? 

Ofcom, the UK regulator of telecoms, has recently launched a programme in which they will monitor and examine whether any in-contract price rises from ISP and phone providers were laid out clearly enough in customer contracts – Before they signed up. 

Shouldn’t broadband packages stay the same throughout your contract?

Wouldn’t it be lovely if the price you signed up for remained the same throughout your broadband contract? 

We don’t think that’s too much to ask, but unfortunately there are many broadband, phone and mobile providers that will hike up the price of broadband part way through your contract. 

The rules laid out by Ofcom to try and combat this problem state that any potential for price increases must be set out in a prominent, clear and transparent way before a customer signs up. 

If an ISP fails to do this, then the customer stands a chance at exiting their contract without having to pay an additional fee. 

How could my ISP increase the price of my broadband?

The less dramatic price increases tend to come from providers like Sky Broadband and Virgin who implement standard price increases year on year. It’s pretty much expected by customers, despite consumers not knowing exactly what the new price will be. 

This kind of price increase also usually allows the customer to leave without having to pay a penalty fee. 

Other ISP’s like BT, EE and TalkTalk include a policy within their contract which enables them to increase their prices mid-contract in line with inflation and / or the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This could see an increase of 3-4%. Whilst this in itself can be quite transparent, the details are more often than not hidden amongst the small print that goes unread. On top of that, not all consumers have an in-depth understanding of inflation. 

Unfortunately, this means that when the inevitable price hike appears, customers are unable to exit their contract part way through without having to pay a penalty fee. 

Ofcom Investigates Broadband Price Hikes

Due to the number of complaints made between the 1st March 2021 and the 16th June 2022, Ofcom decided to investigate the apparent lack of transparency when it comes to in-contract price rises. 

MIllions of people are currently facing increases in their household bills. Now more than ever, it’s vital that ISP’s and telecoms companies make sure they are being very clear with their customers about pricing and exactly what they are signing up for. 

It’s the duty of these companies to lay out clearly and upfront any potential price increases within a customer’s contract. 

Due to the number of complaints regarding this matter, Ofcom began investigating whether this was happening, and if anything more needs to be done to make potential price rises more transparent to customers. 

Any providers found to not be following the rules regarding pricing transparency will be investigated individually. 

Good News About Mid-Contract Broadband Price Increases

Investigations of this nature do of course take time, however you’ll be pleased to know that CAP and BCAP (Committees of Advertising Practice – sister organisation to the Advertising Standards Authority) are developing new guidance in regards to mid-contract price increases. 

Their guidelines will include the potential for mid-contract price hikes to be more prominent within ads from broadband companies, mobile operators. By making it clear at this stage, there is less chance of consumers being misled. 

Since the 17th June 2022, there have been strengthened rules for telecoms companies that enforce clear and simple information for consumers in regards to in-contract price rises – Before the customer signs on the dotted line. 

In the current climate, it is absolutely imperative that customers know exactly what they are paying for their broadband, and how long they will be paying it.