/ Technology

Flawedband: are you happy with your broadband service?

broadband-outage

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.

Why-fi

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?’.

Comments
Terry says:
23 May 2018

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.

Terry if you have been told “fibre is available ” that usually means its arrived at the cabinet -FTTC even a mile from a FTTC you should get approx 12Mbps if its much more then speed drops substantially . I realise your with Talk -Talk but protocol for BT is that customers coming off a street cabinet are notified of it being upgraded , usually a link cabinet next to it. That’s how I was able to put my named down for a FTTC line you must get in first due to high demand , contact Talk-Talk say you want registered to Openreach for the first available fibre connection , its up to TT how much attention they pay you to notify you . Meanwhile check out Openreach,s website and input your telephone number , it will tell you your cabinet number and whether its “fibre enabled ” –dont delay.

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

Thanks for replying Terry not everybody does to check out your cabinet click on https://www.btwholesale.com/includes/adsl/main.htm?s_cid=ws_furls_adslchecker input your telephone number and click on -submit it will tell you your cabinet number and whether its ready for FTTC . I just hope the raining problem applies to the exchange side cable to the cabinet , if its a fault on the “D” side (distribution ) then that will still affect the speed but not to the same degree as the speed will be much higher on fibre . Keep me posted in the future Terry.

I dont know why but the government and the media have been keeping a relatively low profile on an innovation that would answer those with slow broadband speed . The actual basic innovation is American funded but this country is getting in on the act and if this doesn’t get a reaction from Which after all the many convos on the subject then I will have my doubts about its up to the mark information gathering and reporting . It will be based on multiple satellites in a lower orbit using phased arrays which are small flat aerial systems not dish type KU band types as are normal at the moment for people like Roger here is an old but highly technical PDF giving the basics http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs/16873/InTech-New_antenna_array_architectures_for_satellite_communications.pdf the outcome will be very high speed broadband for all no matter what part of the UK you live in or how remote , this is NOT microwave radio broadband either that Donald will be providing for his farmers see also http://interactive.satellitetoday.com/via/may-june-2017/earth-observation-to-capture-the-mainstream-market/ current progress https://www.satellitetoday.com/broadcasting/2018/03/12/ses-networks-selects-viasat-phased-array-flat-panel-antenna-for-o3b-mpower/ wiki on it https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OneWeb_satellite_constellation a UK company is getting in on the act – guess who is going to launch their satellites ? that “hated ” country and its ruler — Russia seems hate only stretches so far.

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…..

The decaying orbit has already been thought about malcolm and a set life cycle applied, seems latency with this system isnt too bad , the problem is the actual amount of rubbish accumulating in the sky above us and “death planes” etc are going to be used to zap the old ones . I know where you are coming from in – fibre for the whole of Britain but its not feasible for 100 % of the population, no country in the world has 100 % FTTP , too dear .Land based will be microwave broadband for those in remote areas , having said that I have spoken to Openreach engineers and overhead ( OH ) pole carried fibre is now being installed in some remote locations so maybe the UK will do what no other country will do -cover the whole of the UK with fibre . Those that shout about high speeds in foreign countries dont realise a lot of their broadband ISNT supplied by FTTP but via relay microwave or satellite -ground station to outlying stations via fibre and then microwave – Norway for one – South America for two. Even France doesn’t have 100 % FTTP.