/ Technology

Which? is supporting Ofcom’s Boost Your Broadband campaign

We’re supporting Ofcom’s new campaign to help consumers get the best broadband deal possible – and we want to know your broadband horror stories… 

At Which? we have long been talking about the problem of bad broadband. It’s now an essential service, yet many people continue to be blighted by slow speeds and connection drop outs.

That’s why we’re happy to support Ofcom’s new Boost Your Broadband campaign, which helps consumers get the connection that best suits their needs.

The trouble with broadband

In my view the problem with broadband is two-fold; firstly that consumers aren’t able to access adequate connections.

Compare: broadband, phone and TV packages

This is a problem due to the lack of infrastructure, which tends to disproportionately affect people living in rural areas. We won’t stop campaigning on that.

The second issue is that consumers often aren’t on the right connections for them – it’s difficult navigating a complex market filled with jargon to get the right deal.

There have been significant efforts from government and communication providers to roll out superfast broadband across the UK – by upgrading some standard connections to fibre cables.

Yet Ofcom figures show that whilst 94% of UK homes and offices can now get superfast broadband, less than half have taken it up.

Paying more for less

Our latest research showed that most customers have been with their broadband providers for at least three years, meaning their introductory deal has probably ended.

Our analysis of broadband deals found this could leave consumers paying an average of 15% more than a new customer – but it some cases the price increase could be as great as 89%.

If customers don’t negotiate with their provider for a better deal, they could end up paying more for the same connection over time (no thanks to the price rises we’ve seen from some providers) – a quarter of the 7,000 broadband customers we surveyed had experienced a price rise in the past 12 months.

The irony here is that consumers can be left paying more money for a connection that’s inferior to what is available in their area.

I don’t blame consumers. They’ve been left jaded by a confusing advertising landscape that included “up to” speeds until earlier this year, plus an array of different words and messages that makes it hard to know what you need.

Get informed

We are pleased to see the regulator helping to get consumers informed – we are supporting their information campaign alongside consumer champion Gloria Hunniford OBE and the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The Boost Your Broadband campaign aims to demystify the broadband market, particularly for people who might be daunted by the choice on offer. You can find out key information to help you make the right decision for you and your home on their website.

Are you aware of the type of connection you’re on? And would you know how to find out if a better one is available? Do you have any broadband horror stories?

Comments
Member

We are with Plusnet for basic broadband and phone. They provide a reasonable service but operate what I regard as an unfair “lock in” arrangement with unreasonable exit fees if you leave the “contract” early. It is time for the regulator to stop exit fees after a set period, say 2 years.
My other grouse about broadband “contracts” in general is that they are not true contracts in the legal sense as prices can be increased during the ” contract” period. A proper legal contract is about a fixed price over a fixed period of time. I think the regulator should be enforcing proper legal contracts to make matters fair for consumers.

Member

Your second point I am in agreement with you Dave .
On your first -boiler repair contract from BG etc -6 months down the line you get a letter saying – we dont like you for xyz reasons so your contact is cancelled and you cant claim against us -fair ?
Thats taking it to the extreme but its a logical point if you want to change the Laws of Contract in England .

Member
jed bailey says:
25 December 2018

Believe it or not, there are customers who cannot get the fastest broadband speeds and have no future improvement prospects. These are the forgotten folk who live so close to the exchange, (in my case 300mtrs.) whose phone line is connected directly to the telephone exchange and not through the technology in the high-speed green cabinets you see in the streets. We receive 10-17mb when no one is using the connections, but really slow speeds when everyone is using the net the street. I live 12 miles from Trafalgar Sq. and get no sympathy from BT, the local authority or government. Can someone help, please.

Member

Yes I can help Jed – taken from the Guardian-
“It seems when Openreach decided to give Oldmeldrum fast broadband the cheapest way to do so would be to not replace the old exchange, but instead to offer the majority of Oldmeldrum fast broadband via the green boxes around the village. Those close to the exchange would not be offered fast broadband but remain connected to the old exchange.”

To add insult to injury, he says Openreach told him that one way he could upgrade was if he persuaded his similarly affected neighbours to put up some money. “I was told that we could then apply for a community fibre partnership to help pay for an upgrade ourselves. I’m not sure it is my job to do their canvassing, and pay them for the privilege to buy broadband from them at a more expensive price. It seems to me that they want me to help fund the scheme to guarantee their future profits,” he says.

Guardian Money was also contacted this week by the residents of Wigbeth in Dorset, who were told they were too far from the exchange to get fast broadband. So a group of 16 residents collectively came up with £5,500 to enable Openreach to install broadband to their community. Dorset County Council matched their sum, leaving Openreach to pay the remaining £11,000

You might not like that Jed but all I am doing is relaying the practical position as it stands now .
I have seen case after case including some in London been told the same as those others.
It is a lot more expensive for Openreach in engineering terms to do this type of than just install a fibre relay cabinet next to the old cabinet.

The government will assist villages by giving grants to help whether this is still ongoing I am not up to date with.

Get back and I can supply additional info on this situation.
I hope I dont offend by wishing you a Merry Christmas on this Christmas day and I hope things are sorted out for you .

To show its not always Openreach,s fault a stubborn pensioner is refusing Openreach access to a street cabinet to upgrade the area to fibre because he says –its on my land – his neighbours are furious -read thecnextv post ofv mine.

Member

I have said again and again its not always BT/Openreach,s fault that upgrades to fibre are delayed in North Wales overseas investors blocked access to their land but here is one stubborn pensioner making life unhappy for his neighbours .-

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3580564/Stubborn-pensioner-86-condemns-fellow-villagers-painfully-slow-broadband-won-t-engineers-access-junction-box-garden.html

“Funnily enough” he doesn’t block then from walking over his land to fix his own phone ? This isn’t an isolated case but what BT has to put up with day in day out and they get criticised by the public instead of the person refusing access to their land .
I can quote 100,s of similar situations . its so bad that Openreach had to install a website on Wayleaves –
https://www.ournetwork.openreach.co.uk/altering-our-network/obtaining-your-wayleaves.aspx

Member

That’s simple to sort out, but it’s typical DFM reporting. We have no fibre access, despite there being no need to cross land or dig trenches. It’s simply that BT can’t be bothered to spend the cash.

Member

“Simple to sort out” Ian ?
and you would do what to that stubborn pensioner –shoot him ?
and the well publicized locally reports in North Wales newspapers which I posted along with links to the said newspapers a couple of years ago about US investors owning parts of North Wales and not allowing Openreach access to their land so stopping fibre to remote areas for Welsh people -get government legislation ?
You seem to forget BT is now a private company no longer has the legal right to force entry etc .

Quote “BT cant be bothered ” ??? obviously you never read my posts even recent ones .
Why should BT pay for those remote customers out of its own pocket why aren’t you hammering at the door of VM -quote we cable your street – North Wales too far away from their shareholders and SKY another $billion company ,why dont you ask them ?
There is nothing stopping any other ISP from digging up roads-for ducting -laying fibre cable etc . remember- UN-bundling legislation allowing this ?
Why cant you just admit those companies wont cable those streets because —there is no profit in it .

DFM reporting? you dont need strategic engineering analysis to see the obvious that’s just trying to complicate matters to the financial gain of business corporations .
You obviously dont know all the professionals that work for BT in every field .

Member

Duncan said ““Simple to sort out” Ian ?
and you would do what to that stubborn pensioner –shoot him ?”

How interesting that you chose to make an extreme suggestion rather than seek clarification of my point, Duncan. By suggesting that I might wish to murder a defenceless human being I believe that – once again – you’re crossing a line in here.

The clarification you chose not to seek is straightforward, by the way. I was referring to the prevailing issue of the article – that access can seemingly be prevented by absentee (or present) landlords. Legislation can be put in place that would require compulsory access to be afforded for the purposes of FO cable installation.

I’m not going to divulge information about my precise geographical location but I can tell you that a BT technician with whom I’ve talked at length has confirmed that it would be relatively simple and cost little to use the existing infrastructure to bring FO cable to our house. The same technician also confirmed that despite Openreach being awarded billions to cable rural Wales they remain committed only to cabling those areas that will provide the greatest financial return in the first instance, despite the desperate need for FO cabling by the hill farming community and others.

Oh – and we don’t have streets, by the way.

DFM reporting? you dont need strategic engineering analysis to see the obvious that’s just trying to complicate matters to the financial gain of business corporations .

Sorry, Duncan, ,but I cannot understand what you’re saying, there. But for clarity, I should add that it is typical of the DFM to sensationalise aspects of a story it feels with enrage its readers.

You obviously dont know all the professionals that work for BT in every field .

Er, no, Duncan. Do you?

Finally, you clearly felt my using the phrase “BT can’t be bothered” was a slight on this bastion of democratic service. In fact, I simply quoted what a BT technician had told me. Living where we do it’s impossible not to detect a certain irony in the way Openreach operates. Granted, we have extreme weather, are very exposed, have a lot of agricultural machinery adept at digging through cables or just pulling them down but we do have landlines – all on poles, of course – and the simple fact is that Openreach attends and deals with issues with the landline provision almost every other day, as it does with the two cabinets that exist between us and the exchange. The cost of having at least two vans plus the inevitable cherry picker on at at least a weekly basis must be little sort of eye watering, and it seems to me that they’re playing an accounting game, whereby they fund repairs and maintenance ad infinitum yet it would, perhaps, pay them to install new lines with FO cabling in one go.

Member

Stop being so pompous Ian you know perfectly well I said that with a touch of sarcasm.
If you cannot understand that then you are intentionally trying to cause trouble .
And you think its okay for you to use obtrusiveness in your “BT cant be bothered remark ” but take offense at me ?
FYI BT has very large departments in all fields science/technology /public relations/LAW /even has its own detective organisation etc etc .

DFM in my book is the abbreviation in electronic/electrical /etc methods to gather information on all aspects of a subject bring them together and present a viable solution .If you dont believe me check it out for yourself , you therefore presented an abbreviation that has several alternative meanings .
I am afraid you will have to prove to me that BT was “awarded £billions to fibre the whole of Wales ”
As you keep saying to me -URL please ??
While Scotland gets help from Scottish taxpayers and given to BT & others to help install fibre over and above any money advanced by Westminster its in the £100,000 of 1000,s NOT Billions !
So you are saying Wales is much richer than Scotland and its taxpayers can give £Billions to BT – that will certainly “give cheer” at Christmas to many Welsh people.
I think your friend is misinforming you.

Member
DerekP says:
26 December 2018

Duncan, I don’t think DFM stands for Design For Manufacturing (or any other engineering) term here 😉

Member

duncan lucas says:Today 11:03

Stop being so pompous Ian you know perfectly well I said that with a touch of sarcasm.

Ah, so now insults are fine in here? Let’s examine this.

I simply observed that the issue with land access was simple to resolve. Your retort was

you would do what to that stubborn pensioner –shoot him ?

I don’t believe my querying that was out of order. You backed down by claiming it was “a touch of sarcasm.” but you used the suggestion of murdering someone – because that’s what it was, no matter how you try to backtrack – deliberately to ridicule my observation. You compounded this by saying

Stop being so pompous Ian

which I find offensive. But then I’m sure nothing will be done about it, as the moderation policies in here seem somewhat selective.

The remark “BT can’t be bothered” wasn’t mine, as I’ve already said; it was a quote from a BT technician, although I used it in the first person.

The records pertaining to Welsh Assembly contracts with OpenReach are well documented – the most recent being here. And if you Google “Welsh payments to BT and openreach” you will also see the horrendous tales of prevarication, obfuscation and lack of committent by BT – one major reason why they were forced to split into separate legal entities.

Member

Yes it does Derek do you think that initial/abbreviation has only one defined meaning .-
https://www2.isye.gatech.edu/~jclu/techstat/JoelLitRev/abs5.html and wiki –
DFM – design for manufacturing; designing products in such a way that they are easy to manufacture.-
https://www.afr.com/research-tools/DFM/results-reports

I have many more in every sphere it refers to correlated data resulting in a result or statistical analysis.

Member
DerekP says:
26 December 2018

Duncan, I must refer you to the very last word of my previous post, and beg you to make due allowances for Ian’s shortcomings, that is to say that, as a non-engineer, he doesn’t use DFM to mean what you seem to be saying it must stand for.

Member

Thats acceptable to me Derek but I refer to the convo main title Technology .

Member
DerekP says:
26 December 2018

Duncan, I’m sure the D stands for Daily and the M for Mail, but I’m not quite sure what the F stands for….

Member

That depends on how “imaginative ” you are Derek.

Member

Hi all. That’s enough on this, please. We don’t want to see arguments or accusations here. We’re all aware of the community guidelines:

https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/

I don’t like having to intervene (especially at this time of year!), so let’s continue to be polite and respectful, please. Thank you.

Member

So its not “”£billions given to BT ” but some £100,000 from Welsh taxpayers to Wales who are in harmony with Holyrood having met and discussed it ?
Unless I am mistaken Which ? isn’t a boardroom with a CEO dishing out orders in an authoritarian tone – to “lesser beings ” , how do you think that sort of approach will go down with young posters ?
Some young people tried to post comments that weren’t allowed to be posted because they didn’t think Which ? ” had a modern -young person approach” – that’s putting it politely.

Why didn’t you answer my question on why VM + SKY etc– $billion companies wont invest in those remote areas and dont try to say –lie- BT wont let us – that would contradict Ofcom,s unbundling of the Openreach external network .
No profit Ian –no profit – VM had a chance at the beginning to take up HMG offer of FTTC years ago along with another smaller company but HMG conditions did not suite the shareholders -IE- not enough profit .
So dont make out BT got too much money from HMG – BT used BT pensioners money to add to the FTTC deal , ask BT pensioners if they think “thats okay ” .

Member
Raymond Town says:
15 January 2019

I live in a rural area that does not have a good broadband connection because I am at the end of the line (2.5 miles from the nearest exchange). Kent County Council has been paying BT to improve local speeds, but BT has said that it is not able at present to deal with lines so far from the exchange. I would hope that the Goverment is actually still trying to do something about this problem.

Member

In answer to your query Raymond , unusually (for me ), I present the official government line (updated ) get back with you opinion /criticisms so that we can talk about it.
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/broadband-delivery-uk