/ Technology

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.


Based on the test just taken (11.30pm) my results are latency 133, download is 12.9, upload is 5.8. Now I have no idea what any of that means. I don’t know if that is good, bad or indifferent. All I know is that if I want to watch opera on Youtube I have no problems. If I want to email, the email goes. I get emails in return. I have no problem with BT. Maybe the results are good. I don’t know, and given that I can do all I want to do, I actually don’t care.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I wrote to Which before this convo say that ALL the country should have been provided with a reasonable speed of broadband before they started on providing fast connections so that a few could download a film in seconds WHO got everything WRONG ??

Having different broadband speed tests that produce different results seems. That is not helpful when trying to make comparative tests. I suggest using the Ofcom test and if there is a better test then pushing Ofcom to adopt it. https://checker.ofcom.org.uk/broadband-test

Hi @patrick ā€“ Thanks for answering the recent questions. Please can you tell us why Which? does not use the same speed test as Ofcom? ā€“ see the link above.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I don’t know anything about the Ofcom speed test, Duncan. My point is really that it would make sense to standardise on a particular test for the purposes of comparison, and I would support using one that does not harvest data for commercial use. Enthusiasts might want different ones for particular purposes.

Peter Jermy says:
28 June 2017

I am surprised of all this talk of 10 mbs – I live some 7 miles from Norwich, supposedly a regional capital, and in a village being targeted for extra housing to help cover burgeoning housing needs.
I can watch my TV and continue to marvel at something called IPlayer – what on earth is that? Reason?? Download speed of 1.2mbps – roll on financial penalties for less than 10mbps!
There is actually fibre in the village but can BT be bothered to bring it down the road where most people live?
Not likely.

Living in Exmouth Devon 12 miles from Exeter doesn’t make any difference promised the earth get very little.Hoping to get to Honiton today to see if you can help speed things up. Is an I pad a help or hinder acne . Wonder if a new laptop would be bette.

Along with other users living in villages I live in Acol, East Kent, and we are lucky if download speed exceeds 2Mbs. I am with BT and they suggest paying twice as much for transferring to the fibre service but why should I ? They don’t seem to realise that there is no fibre link in the village anyway!

My home broadband download/upload speeds are 0.9mbps. The service I am paying for is up to 17mbps. Can’t think of any other service that charges full price for a 5% service. If broadband was free for everyone who can’t receive the OFCOM minimum speed of 10mbps there would be far more incentive for the ISPs/BT Openreach to improve the network.

My local council, Hampshire, is currently rolling out high speed broadband to areas not covered by commercial providers. However, currently there are no plans to cover the last 2.6% of the county, including me. The current plans extend to the end of 2019.

I am trying to use mobile broadband with limited success. The speed was 15mbps a year ago but that has gradually dropped. EE tells me the only mast I can connect to has been running on reduced power for over 6 weeks with no idea of when it will be fixed. Currently I am getting 4mbps some of the time and nothing the rest.

The mobile broadband is costing me the same amount again as the home broadband, although it is limited to 50Gb per month. Due to the current poor service I have great difficulty using up my limit.

At this moment in time I am receiving broadband speeds of between 0.54 Mbps and 0.18 Mbps, from my server /My Post Office ,on asking for help they say its down to my exchange, and if I want to leave them there will be no charge, living in a rural district in Derbyshire who to I go with??

b.oldbury says:
29 June 2017

I changed to italk (do not go there) i was told i would get a 7 i check every day most days i get 0.54

This comment was removed at the request of the user

EMB says:
29 June 2017

When I see the speeds that some people are complaining about, I’m afraid I laugh. On a GOOD day I get 0.3Mb download, although my upload is better, and the ping is between 300 and 1000mS. On a bad day I cannot measure it, but I have measures 0.02Mb, and a ping 01 12450Ms. That’s over 12 seconds!! However, the abysmal speed is not the worst of the problems. That prize goes to the drop outs, which can happen for seconds, minutes, or even days. I have had so many engineers out that I know them by name! My losses within my home are apparently minimal, and changes of sockets and hub have made little difference, because the problems are along the line. I live more than 5miles from the exchange, as the cables lie, and as a result I will never get an improved service, and nor will my neighbours. I am actually thinking about selling up and buying a home with better broadband service, but I love my home and cannot see why I should have to. BT and OpenReach are “investigating” the intermittent problems and slow speed, but I cannot see how they expect to improve it unless they run a new cable, the one option that they have so far refused to consider!

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Mark says:
29 June 2017

I am with virgin and average around 200 Mbps down and 12 up wether it is wired or wireless.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I recently moved from Wolverhampton to Ruislip,and my broadband speeds(from infinity) fell to abysmally low levels of 1.5Mbps to 2.2 Mbps.I do not have fibreoptic broadband in my street,although I am surrounded by streets with fibreoptic broadband.Open reach and bt haven’t been able to help.My quality of life seems to have gone down.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I get 5mb download. The problem is BT fibre runs outside my house to next village yet I cant connect to it. Marvellous !

This comment was removed at the request of the user

10Mbit/s ?!! We’re in the Tahmes Valley less than 4 miles from Reading, and we’ve been living with speeds of often under 1Mbit, and chronic reliability problems for years. BT/OpenReach upgraded the local exchange (Twyford) to BT Infinity 6 years ago, and since then have delayed, prevaricated, and downright lied in their adverts on availability in our area.

We might be finally getting Infinity this month, but as a final check I went to run the Which? speed checker and save the results, only to discover the form doesn’t list our ISP (Vispa), doesn;t have an “Other” option, and won’t allow submission without a selection being made. This is annoying, and not the first time I’ve had this problem with Which? surveys. Come on guys, as a mature organisation you should have these basics right by now.

Getting back to the main issue. BT/Openreach are a shambles and I resent giving my money to them in any way, even indirectly, but as we all know outside the main urban areas there are all to often no alternatives.

OfCOM should have established a universal service provision on the Industry years ago, funded by a flat rate levy on all users. The BroadBand UK (BDUK) initiative run by the Department of Media and Sport has been too slow, too patchy, and too easily abused by the providers, especially BT, who continue to “game” the system to maximise their profits.

Internet access is now an essential service just as much as electricity and gas. The digitisation of public services is a main driver, so the Government needs to get universal access sorted. Sub-100Mbit access (as hiope to get soon) will be obsolete by the time many of us get access to it. The UK needs to leap a couple of generations, bypass the 1930s-era copper cable we are still dependent on, and put mlti-service fibre optic district communications hubs into all non-urban areas, which is basically what the Lords committee report on the subject said they should do 5+ years ago.

I’m extremely disappointed with Which? I’ve been a long time member and supporter of Which? but feel very let down by them
When it comes to carrying out UK reviews on issues such as broadband speeds Northern Ireland seems to be left out.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

That is no doubt interesting but it does not answer Kevin’s question. There is no doubt that Northern Ireland does not get the same coverage from Which? that other parts of the UK receive and that might be partly because of the different constitutional and political structure and the fact that its utilities generally are not connected to those in England, Scotland and Wales. Obviously Which?’s work on household products, motor cars, general services, travel, banking and insurance, and similar topics, is applicable in NI just as it is in the rest of the UK. I notice that when there is a Scottish difference in the legal treatment of cases Which? is diligent to state that, and I have occasionally seen similar references in respect of NI, but I suspect there is just a lack of comprehensive experience and awareness.

When it comes to telecoms, BT is the dominant service provider in Northern Ireland as it is in the rest of the UK. It also has some infrastructure in Eire as do other companies, but in Eire the dominant telecom service provider is Eir which is generally the successor to PT&T, the Irish state operator that provided postal, telephone and telegraph services across Eire having taken over the GPO services when the free state was created. I can recall seeing some comments from people in Northern Ireland in some of the Conversations that have taken place about broadband although I cannot pinpoint them now. I think the issues are more or less the same: people are not getting the broadband speed and capacity that they were expecting and are dissatisfied with the roll-out of faster broadband. There seems to be the same disconnect between what Ofcom believes is available and what people can actually get. I think it is for Which? to explain why NI gets indifferent coverage in the Magazine and in its campaigning activity. I trust it is just a logistical problem.

I strongly support the additional funding that has been agreed for Northern Ireland under the government’s pact with the DUP; when I think of the human cost and financial expenditure, as well as the setback to modernisation and decent standards, during the years of unrest, Ā£1.5 billion is chicken feed. As Duncan says, hopefully some of that will be ploughed into the province’s infrastructure to further harmonise it with conditions in England, Scotland and Wales.

On 6 June our Download speed was 0.4 & Upload 0.7 Mbps (using Which checker). This by no means unusual for us! We have endlessly checked installation, even bought a booster. Sometimes the reception is so bad that I cannot get a single page to remain viable (even Which). We have now followed Which advice and changed supplier – “hope springs eternal”.
Maybe the Broadband Roadshow should visit areas like this to see and hear how desperate is the situation rather than in built-up areas that do not have the same challenges as a rural area.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I live in a village in North Notts with a download speed (on a good day) of 1.3 Mbps and this is common in several villages in this area. I can’t even run the Which download speed test as I just get a connection error message! Notts County Council have received funding to implement a faster rural broadband scheme, but have been selective in the areas they’ve chosen to spend it. If you live in a village that is close to another county as I am, you get caught up in cross boundary funding issues.

Never mind Broadband what about the speed of Which? webmail. I’ve been complaining for months, and months and months. Which? Tech Support finally admitted in an e-mail to me that there is a problem and their engineers were trying to make improvements. THERE HAS BEEN NO IMPROVEMENT. It’s not my Broadband it’s Which? Appalling service from an organisation that exists to scrutinise service from others. Organisations that live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Linda: I use Which?’s webmail regularly and have some five accounts with it, and it works smoothly and quickly. Is it webmail you use for your Which? email accounts? I ask because Which? stopped providing these many years ago.

Hello Ian, thanks so much for your reply but I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean. I have complained to Which? tech support on numerous occasions and they have not been able to help and were not really interested. They did say there were problems and tweeks were being made but no difference to me. I have had a Which? e-mail a/c for years. I also have a gmail a/c – no problem.

I have to say that’s in stark contract to how I find the Which? tech people, Linda. Which? did have a major issue with its mail servers some time ago, but since that was resolved it’s been absolutely fine for me, anyway.

Thanks Ian, this has been going on since the major issue earlier in the year – I think Which?’s handling of that whole business was disgraceful as well. All I got out of them was one month’s subscription forgiven when a better service was what was required. Which? is becoming like the BBC – can’t take criticism, is complacent, always knows best and is not concerned about problems experienced by its own customers

Sorry Ian, should have said my problem has been going on since before the major issue earlier this year. Incidentally there were similar issues about the same time in 2016.

I suspect one problem is that Which? is reliant on a third party to provide hosting, email, etc.

Hi Ian, Yes I know but as Which? “experts” are always telling us complaints/resolutions should be made to, and come from the retailer (i.e. Which?) and not the manufacturer (i.e. the third party). I am paying Which? not a third party.

Hello Linda, I’m very sorry to hear about your poor experience of our webmail service. Let me look into this for you. Appreciate you coming on here to share your thoughts on it.

Linda, I’m sure Patrick will sort things out for you, but it’s worth remembering that Which? doesn’t provide email services for anyone other than their own employees. I’m pretty sure I’m right in saying those of us who still have the service don’t actually pay for it; we pay for the magazines and Which? simply allows the email service to continue for us, which I think you’ll agree is quite unlike any commercial company.

I’ve had the same email addresses with them for 21 years. By any standards that’s pretty good going, and since I don’t pay for an email service as such I’m very grateful to Which? for allowing those few of us who had one at the outset to retain it.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Hi Duncan, thanks so much for your reply – a bit beyond me I’m afraid. I use a Chrome book and my gmail a/c is as quick as a flash as it is on my Samsung tablet but Which? e-mail is hopeless for the vast majority of the time. I have complained to Which? tech support on several occasions and apart from admitting there is a problem they are trying to fix (this was a few weeks ago and no change to my service) they have not suggested anything. Which? e-mail is slow whether it is the only thing running or not. I am slowly trying to change my contacts to gmail so I can get rid of it but I have had the a/c for so long it takes time.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Thanks Duncan, I did what you suggested and it came up with incomprehensible (to me) info. Three different IP addresses all with Status of “success”. When I can remember/find out how to check my e-mail settings I’ll check the IP address on my Chrome Book and tablet – don’t know if that will help or I’ll be able to do it come to that but I must have loaded something on to get the Which? e-mail a/c on in the first place! Thanks again.

My BT broadband speed is supposedly guaranteed at 1 Mbps [with no exceptions such as wifi speed]. So far I have yet to get this. I can’t get Fibre optic, despite there being a new telegraph pole at my gate and a cottage on the same plot of land receiving it. No reason has been given for this. I was on to BT [not so helpful] Customer helpline for over 40 mins yesterday. The best he could suggest is that something, like a vase?! may be blocking the signal. This was for BT’s new router supplied in January 2017! I have been trying to find out why I can’t get fibre broadband since last November to be told it is coming! It’s already here!!!!! BT blame Openreach! There doesn’t seem to be a solution! BT even had the gall to increase their prices for a service I am unable to use!

This comment was removed at the request of the user