/ Technology

Flawedband: are you happy with your broadband service?


Our latest research shows over half of households have had a problem with their broadband service in the last year alone. Are you one of them?

I’m sure like many of our Convo readers, I am quite good at taking action when I’m unhappy with a product or service. I switched mobile provider last year; I recently convinced my parents to switch broadband provider; I challenge my gym when my experience doesn’t live up to my expectations (having my spin class cancelled on the day one week did not make me happy!).

And yet there are still many examples where I accept poor service. Things pass me by, or I just accept as the status quo. And for many broadband customers, this seems to be the same.


Our latest broadband satisfaction survey found that more than half of Britain’s households have experienced a problem with their broadband provider in the last year. As with all of our surveys, experiences varied across providers but even the lowest score still showed a quarter of customers experiencing problems.

The top complaint was price increases, affecting one in five.

Slow speeds was the second biggest problem, with frequent connection drop outs and problems with routers following respectively.

It’s a positive that automatic compensation will come into force next year with 90% of the broadband market committing to doing it. But even then, compensation will apply only to three areas (slow repairs, missed appointments and delayed installations) that don’t appear in our top four list of problems.

Automatic compensation is certainly a welcome step, and something we at Which? have campaigned for, but ultimately we want the service to improve in the first instance.

Communication failure

With over half of people experiencing problems, I’m sure many do take action with their provider, but it has to be the case that many more don’t.

I think that often consumers are confused about what they can do, they don’t understand what the problem is, and they get frustrated with slow or no customer service to fix it. Furthermore, they don’t understand when they can and should negotiate on price. (Want to know more? Check out our advice on haggling for the best deal.)

Are you surprised at the results? What grumbles do you have with your broadband service and have you managed to have them addressed by your provider? And what can be done to stop more than half of households having problems?

Which? surveyed 1,901 telecoms customers in Dec 2017 to Jan 2018. We require a minimum of 30 responses to give a rating or score on any particular measure. Broadband customers were asked: ‘Thinking about the last 12 months (i.e. since December 2016), which, if any, of the following problems have you experienced with your broadband?’.


My average speed for last 4yrs is 0.24 in 2009 it was 1.6. Complaints to Talk Talk are a complete waste of Time. Try to blame set up in house. Connection lost every time it rains. They are unable to understand it does not rain in house! They have finally said fibre is available. but no timetable of when they will complete. BT advise a max of 0.5 so still waiting for progress report.

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Was notified about cabinet being upgraded before Xmas . Notified Talk Talk but told they would let me know when I could upgrade which I signed up for ,3 weeks ago. Has once more been raining connection is now 0.01 whole village has same problem. BT engineers say we are lucky if we get 0.5

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Most of the UK could be served by the fibre network. As I read it one of the proposals above is to have hundreds of small (125kg) satellites in low orbit providing world-wide coverage, which in principle seems a better solution than laying fibre and wires. However, I wonder who will control the costs and the system and how the satellites in decaying orbits will be disposed of.

Using a conventional satellite currently limits speed, has high latency, and is unreliable in poor weather. Will any satellite system suffer with weather? As for latency, the examples quoted are more difficulty in playing games (oh dear!) and a slight lag in, say, voice communications.

I wonder whether, if and when the vast majority of the UK has access to fibre (the choice is then whether to use and pay for it as individual subscribers) whether the majority of the remainder would really take up the new system, or whether for those remote areas we should not concentrate on a land-based system.

However, what happens is not a UK decision.

Yours in ignorance…..

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