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.
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.
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?