/ Technology

Tired of being in the broadband slow lane?

Broadband campaign illustration

Has your broadband connection ever slowed down or dropped out altogether? Our research suggests that 13 million households experience problems with their internet connection…

Gone are the days of access to the internet being considered a luxury. Nowadays it can almost be considered a basic right. So much of our lives are based around our gadgets and online access, many consider the internet a household necessity.

However, our research tells us that 63% of you suffer problems with your broadband, and just under half have reported issues with slow connections. A little over half of those said that it was something they experience regularly. Moreover, more than a quarter of you told us you’ve been kept waiting two days for a problem to be fixed and nearly one in ten have had to wait a week or more. A week is a very long time in the desert of no-internet connection.

Streaming movies online

So we’re calling on broadband providers to sharpen up their act. We want companies to give you written speed estimates at the outset of your agreement, this should be a range as well as an accurate assessment for your house. This should be accompanied with information about what sorts of things you should be able to do at those speeds, for example whether you’ll be able to watch movies online. If you find, at any point in your contract, that you are regularly unable to achieve the minimum speed we’re calling for companies to let you out of that contract without penalty.

We also want providers to commit to fixing problems quickly and crucially we think that they should all commit to providing a refund for any period during which you were unable to connect to the internet. Finally we want to see providers committing to taking the lead in resolving problems, not passing their customers from pillar to post.

We think you should get the broadband you pay for. So much of day-to-day life revolves around access to the internet that we think it’s important you get the best service possible. Have you experienced problems with your broadband supplier? We’d love to hear from you.


Up until the start of this year I never thought I could live without my broadband as i use it for music, films, tv, games, radio everything. But due to a fall-out with Plusnet trying to overcharge me I stopped using it.

I always got little fed-up with the router eating at my electricity & the fact we need to have a landline to be able to have broadband.

I then moved to unlimited mobile broadband on my mobile phone (that I connect to my laptop) with Network Three and it’s the best thing I have ever done.

I no longer need to be stuck in the house when i do my work, when it’s a nice day I can just grab my mobile, laptop, Bella the dog and have a walk down to the river and work from the grass. Or sit outside the cafe. It’s amazing. I should of done this a long long time ago.

(But If I stop getting unlimited data I will need to get a normal landline & broadband back as I use that much I need truly unlimited)

Mrs. Combe says:
21 March 2014

This has all happened to late. I had to take out an annuity nearly five years ago. I very much doubt if the new changes will be retrospective. I would much rather have been able to manage my own capital but it is too late now for a great many people..

The focus in discussion seems to be about download speeds only – does no-one have an issue with upload speeds? Whilst my download speed is usually above 6 Mb the upload is only 300k at most. I once stored a small number of family photos on Dropbox for my son to access but it took virtually all night to complete; I have subsequently given up.

Try going into the Dropbox preferences and changing the Upload rate from ‘Limit automatically’ to ‘Don’t limit’. In my experience there is a delay between uploading files to Dropbox and them becoming available to download.

Some broadband suppliers unfairly cap upload speeds, and don’t exactly make you aware of it.

For example, Plusnet cap upload speeds at 448Kb/s by default. You have to request it to be uncapped by contacting their support, and being very clear about what you want because either their own support team are not aware that they do this, or they deliberately make it difficult for customers to resolve this. Even their speed troubleshooter is not designed to allow you to report problems with your upload speed, and they threaten you with engineer call outs and associated charges.

When I complained to them, they would not agree that they had done anything wrong. They also claimed that I was “lucky” that removing the upload speed cap (now getting 1Mb/sec upload) had little/no effect on my download speed, but they could not offer even rough statistics of the number/proportion of customers that were adversely affected by removing the cap.

I have only once had a significant problem with my broadband supplier. I was getting a very low speed but was told that I should be happy with this. I decided that I was not getting anywhere and called back when someone else was on duty. Something was done this time and my download and upload speeds promptly increased by between four and five fold. 🙂

That was a few years ago, but I know what to do if it happens again.