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Update: are you at breaking point with your broken broadband?

Fix Bad Broadband roadshow

The results of our nationwide broadband survey are in! Are you one of the many thousands putting up with bad broadband just because of where you live?

Update: 11 July 2017

Our Fix Bad Broadband roadshow has been a roaring success!

For the past two weeks, weā€™ve been visiting supporters in their hometowns hearing about their broadband problems. By taking our Fix Bad Broadband campaign on the road, we’ve been piloting whether these kind of events help us to reach more people, find new supporters and hear their powerful stories.

In Luton, for example, one new supporter told us that in his smallĀ village the internet connection was so bad that his business wasĀ failing to grow. It often took him well over an hour to check hisĀ emails as the connection would intermittently drop in and out. AndĀ sadly he told us the situation was causing him understandableĀ financial hardship and emotional stress.

This is unfortunately not a unique story. The breadth of interest fromĀ communities and scale of concern from individuals continues to inspireĀ us in our campaigning with you. We have many more stories like thisĀ and will be sharing some of them as the campaign ramps up.

To this end we also stopped at Parliament. During the day we spoke to 71 MPs about our Fix Bad Broadband campaign. They showed great enthusiasm to work with us and champion our broadband campaigning. Needless to say, weā€™re going to be continuing our conversations with MPs in an effort to get the voices of unhappy broadband customers heard in Parliament.

We also continued to promote our speed test tool during the roadshow. With 500,000 uses to date, we are building a clearer picture ofĀ problems across the UK, but we still need more in order to paint the fullest picture of the nationā€™s broadband health.

Thank you to all those who came out to see us. With your help we will improve the broadband service customers currently receive.

Original Convo: 27 June 2017

The UKā€™s best and worst broadband speeds have been revealed and the results make for very interesting reading.

The good, the bad and the almost there

Our speed test data analysisĀ found the best-performing areas were Tamworth in the West Midlands, Reading, Adur in West Sussex, Enfield and Dundee City, in that order. However, those areas letting down residents as the worst-performing include the Orkney and Shetland Islands, the Highlands, Ryedale in Yorkshire and Purbeck in Dorset. Average tests in these areas were all below 10Mbps.

The governmentā€™s own Universal Service Obligation suggests that the minimum download speed anyone should be experiencing is 10Mbps. However, our research shows that 12 areas, broken down in our research by local authority, arenā€™t quite achieving even this benchmark.

Of course, you may very well assume that many of the worst performing areas are going to be rural and for the most part, youā€™d be right. However, many residents living in some of the most built-up areas also lag behind the national average of 17Mbps. For example, speed tests taken in the London Boroughs of Southwark, Westminster, Lambeth, Hackney and the City of London all fall behind this download speed; a figure determined from our research.

Hereā€™s a map of the best and worst locations for broadband coverage in the UK based on speed tests. How does your area fair?

Receiving a good broadband service can often be something of a postcode lottery but, aside from complaining to your provider until you’re blue in the face or moving house, there are of couple of other things you can do about it.

First and foremost. you can take our broadband speed test and log your results with us so we can continue to build on our current research. With over 400,000 uses, our tool is helping us create a complete picture of the UK’s broadband health. Click the button below to submit your speed.

Take our speed test

After you’ve done that, the next thing you can do is to come visit us on our roadshow!

Fix Bad Broadband roadshow

Over the next two weeks weā€™re going to be taking our broadband campaign on the road and weā€™re inviting you to come and speak to our team about the problems you face getting online.


Come and visit us when our Fix Bad Broadband van rolls into a town near you.

Our crack team of broadband boffins will be on hand to offer tips on how you can improve your under-performing connection, share details aboutĀ our Fix Bad Broadband campaign and invite you to get involved, and listen to your stories so we can go to government, internet service providers and regulators with the real-world problems faced by customers all across the country.

Is your broken broadband holding you back? Tell us how slow internet affects your life in the comments below, but of course weā€™d much rather meet our valued supporters face-to-face on the Fix Bad Broadband roadshow.

Comments
Mike Rees says:
19 July 2017

I am on BT Infinity and I used the Which Broadband speed checker. My speeds were woefully less than my contract even after trying the suggested remedies. I then complained to BT and had a phone call I assume from someone in India. In the end I was given a choice either make sure the fault was not within my home or PC or have engineer call out at cost of just under Ā£130 if the fault was deemed to be in my house I would have to pay this sum. So take the gamble was the message. I was not prepared to be put in that position and will be withdrawing from BT. I think that is shocking considering how much I pay each month

Ken Moore says:
19 July 2017

my son lives in a new build in bishopstoke Hampshire and your speed test shows download speed of less than 1MB and upload crashes or measures 0MB using Sky who advertise as UP TO 38mb download and 1oMB upload . His internet is unusable.

[Sorry, your comment has been edited to align with our Community Guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Ken: I’d edit your post above to remove the postcode.

I think house-builders and estate agents should carry out a reliable and independent broadband speed test on properties being sold and include it in their particulars of sale.

John on new estates the owners of the land /house builders are given the opportunity to ask BT for service or Virgin Media . The deal is that BT comes in and lays cables into the street while the builder can employ private companies to dig ducting into the homes so that cable can be laid , also ( if they will pay for it ) a FTTC if it is not already in the area. In doing so BT ask other providers for financial help to pay for installation , most times its denied so BT/Virgin media then have exclusive rights over that estate . On the other hand if it is a new build on its own in an established area the service is taken from the nearest BT DP ( distribution point -black box on pole ) which could be a long distance away depending on the position of the house build from other homes , this will mean or could mean slow speed . So if the builder wants maximum profit they will use the cheapest method –the nearest pole so they know it wont be a good selling point to emphasis the rubbish speed.

I appreciate what you are saying, Duncan. Our house was a new-build purchase four years ago so we are aware of how the cable providers operate and how sharp the house-builders are. BT installed the cables on our small development and we have FTTP and no complaints. We do not subscribe to BT Infinity as the ordinary service is good enough for our requirements. I have never checked the broadband speed because there is no need to – it is always adequate. I feel, however, given how important a good broadband service is these days for most residents, it ought to be a standard inclusion in property details to give an actual speed reading. Many estate agents do comment on broadband speed in their particulars but only in generalised terms, and – as you say – only where it is a positive feature. But when considering a pre-owned house a prospective buyer can ask the agent for more information or actually ask the owner for a check reading. When buying a brand new property the purchaser has to rely on what the house-builder [or their agent] says or doesn’t say. I realise there is a problem with readings from different on-line checkers not necessarily being reliable or comparable with other readings, but what people need to know is not necessarily the exact reading at a particular time but the speed range from a minimum to a maximum in bands such as: Under 10Mbps at all times, 5-10 Mbps at all times, 10-20 Mbps at all times, and so on. I would expect new fibre services to have high capacity and good speed from new but it will depend on the number of properties they will serve [some of which might not have been built yet], and also on whether they connect to a cabinet upstream that is already at or near breaking point. It seems to me that fibre is a slippery eel in the hands of marketing people and telecom service providers – including BT and Virgin – and that home buyers are entitled to reliable information and support whether it is for a new or a pre-owned property.

When the house-builder’s on-site representative takes potential customers around the show home, or the shell of the next release, they can open a tap and prove that the plumbing and drains work, and they can flick a switch and show that the lights work, but they can never demonstrate the broadband service because the property is not connected. With luck the sales rep might allow a customer to check the speed on the computer in their showroom but that line might not be coming off the same cabinet as the properties currently for sale.

This is not the biggest problem that needs solving with slow speed broadband but I feel it would repay serious attention. For some purchasers it might be significantly more important than the location of the nearest school with a good Ofsted rating.

Dr David Croot says:
22 July 2017

We live in Wiltshire, and according to the data, should have superfast broadband. Unfortunately Openreach and Wiltshire Council mis-measured the distance from the exchange to our hamlet of 30 houses and we have appallingly slow and unreliable broadband (2 Mbps maximum). For the past 6 weeks our internet has been non-existent. After innumerable phone calls to BT and tests from their end which apparently showed we have 2.4 Mbps we were sent an engineer to test from our end. He wrote a report to the effect that we have NO broadband. A second engineer arrived from Openreach some weeks later who again tested the line from our end, went to the cabinet and the exchange and confirmed that we have no connection and that it is a provider problem (BT). Report submitted, but no action taken. Our latest attempts to get them to address the problem have resulted in no further action apart from the offer of a token rebate of 35pounds. We have tried to get released from our contract on the grounds that they are not providing the minimum service level, but have been told that we have to pay a release fee of 85 pounds. We have now resorted to satellite broadband, which is slow and costly (like the old dial-up). We are told we may get fibre in 2018…….
Conclusions:
1. Do not believe the simplistic data that is bandied about as it hides the reality and
2. will someone please tell BT customer services to at least believe their own engineers reports and take ACTION!

My understanding is that if a speed lower than their guaranteed speed is consistently provided then you can cancel the contract. Advise you to stop the direct debit and contact Ofcom.

Ewan says:
25 July 2017

A house we are looking at, which is otherwise great, has a line speed (according to Sky, BT and EE) of 2.5mbps. Despite this, on the openreach checker it states “superfast accepting orders”. I can’t get a straight answer as to why this is, and can only assume that openreach are talking nonsense – which of course makes it look like they are providing good coverage. Plusnet told me I was in a “FTTP enabled area”, however the two FTTP providers (BT and Virgin) told me that they couldn’t provide FTTP to the address. We are used to 52mbps+ so dropping to 2.5 will be a real struggle I think. Is that even fast enough to watch a Youtube video?

I should also add that the Openreach checker states that the address is FTTC, so…I have no idea what the truth is.

Hello Ewan ,your first post is nearly correct and the official line is quote- if the lowest consistent speed (continually ) is lower than the bundle you are paying for you can drop to a lower or basic bundle or cancel the contract with no financial loss to yourself (contract broken due to non-compliance ) . If , in your case you are speculating on a house purchase then you did rightly by checking out the broadband conditions . By saying an exchange is “fibre enabled ” is not a legal admittance that every line +cabinet coming off it is also fibre enabled , the same as ,if a cabinet is fibre enabled FTTC it does not guarantee that every subscriber coming off it will get high broadband speeds . This is due entirely to engineering logistics -IE- the further you are away from the cabinet the slower the speed , even FTTC slows down dramatically over a mile distant and at 2 miles or more is getting down to copper figures . FTTP costs a lot of money and both BT+Virgin will not supply it if its only individual customers applying UNLESS you are a bona fide business customer and even there they must pay. In your case , if you say its FTTC enabled to YOUR address then the nice house you were looking at must be 2 miles or more from the cabinet you come off (regardless of other cabinets . You are not allowed to post your (home ) address on Which for obvious reasons so I cant be more precise . ONe saving grace is if its in the North B4RN will provide fibre to the nearest road and you install fibre to your home with the help of neighbours friends . https://b4m.org.uk/ excellent company for rural areas even the Americans are amazed at it – British owned / British run very good reputation – fastest rural broadband in the WORLD for FTTP — 1000 Mbps ( their words ) -nobody has challenged this -yet . .

bishbut says:
4 August 2017

Just blame someone else if you can No one wants to take responsibility for any faulty thing .Not just broadband

helen says:
4 August 2017

I have spent weeks, two engineer visits, endless phone calls and a new BT Hub4, which I was assured would increase my upload speed. None have increased my upload speed, despite repeated promises. I work from home and need to upload data, speeds are currently only 1Mbp, while the download is >6Mbp. Yesterday I was told that upload is not BT’s responsibility. How can that be? Surely BT has some responsibility.

Helen, have you done a speed test? What are the results?

A link to the Which? broadband speed test:
https://broadbandtest.which.co.uk/

Another one:
http://www.speedtest.net/

Domestic broadband is asynchronous and upload speeds are often as low as a tenth of the download speed, the reason being that most people download more data than they upload. That’s no help to Helen or to gamers, who need a decent upload speed. Fibre broadband is still asynchronous (well mine is) but at least it will give better upload and download speeds. Faster broadband will overcome Helen’s problem and many more.