/ 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.

Comments

No trust in any of the alleged communication providers. We live a mile from the exchange and have a regular visit from BT technicians (17) in the last year. Their main policy is the old chestnut about distance from the exchange. Our broadband is a joke, and the phone line ain’t much better. On the plus side the mobile signal has been improving slowly over the last few years. So with a bit of luck will be able to bin the garbage landline and just go mobile. Will need to invest in a large umbrella for those days when I will have to do the Vodafone boogie in the garden looking for my G. Oddly enough signal and broadband work perfectly for junk calls/texts and spam.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I live 2and half miles from the exchange and 2and half miles from the cabinet the cabinet that supplies me is just outside the door of the exchange but i cant complain I get on average 3to 4 Mbps and living in the middle of nowhere is very nice and I dont think I we stand much chance of ever seeing fibre except in our breakfast cereal lol

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Philip says:
6 July 2017

What speeds ????
Some people have BT’s Emergency Aluminium cabling, put down in the 1970’s. This was due to unavailability of copper wiring from South Africa, due to a dispute with the South Africans at the time.
It is a good phone line, but of course, we don’t have any internet access. There are no signals, because the alumimum in not compatible with the internet.
BT won’t change these lines without cost, and they do cost. It would be nice if they offered free compatible internet wiring
It doesn’t matter to us personally, because we are happy using a 3 dongle instead.
We live in the Lincolnshire Wolds. A lot of houses here have alumium.
So people with slow internet speeds are very lucky. Some people don’t get the internet at all!

Michael Nicholson says:
6 July 2017

When your broadband test makes my download and upload speeds about the same (10 mb/sec) and when I test other broad band speed test systems which give me download speeds 4x the speed that you estimate I tend to suspect that you are wrong.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Philip says:
6 July 2017

What speeds???
Some people have BT’s Emergency Aluminium cabling, put down in the 1970’s. This was due to unavailability of copper wiring from South Africa, due to a dispute with the South Africans at the time.
It is a good phone line, but of course, we don’t have any internet access. There are no signals, because the alumimum in not compatible with the internet.
BT won’t change these lines without cost, and they do cost.
It doesn’t matter to us personally, because we are happy using a 3 dongle instead.
We live in the Lincolnshire Wolds. A lot of houses here have alumium.
So people with slow internet speeds are very lucky. Some people don’t get the internet at all!

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Hilary says:
6 July 2017

I live in a high speed area but can’t get it because when the service was installed in our village the uptake was underestimated and our provider is waiting for BT to do more work to allow more people to connect to the higher speed service. BT say we have to check every so often to see if they have done this. They cannot tell us when they’ll do it or inform us when it is done. Meanwhile our provider charges us more than if we were in a town because they say we are in a high cost area

This comment was removed at the request of the user

David says:
10 July 2017

I live less than 500m straight line from an FTTC enabled Exchange. However, while BT keep telling me it is available in my area, it is not. My phone line is direct to the Exchange and not via a street cabinet. So some may laugh that I am complaining that my 20Mb ADSL2+ connection is slow, however the technology limits the upload to 1Mb. This means that when more than one person uses the internet it is negatively impacted for both users. I challenge BT that enabling the Exchange and then moving on to the next without deploying the technology to all lines connected to the Exchange is unacceptable and poor practice. I live in a major city, there are no alternative technologies available to me. I sit, I wait….for how long? For the cost of 4G mobile broadband to come down I guess.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

There is a live cabinet in my village, and most residents have a good connection. My nearest neighbour , half a kilometre from me, receives about 35 megs, while my speed is 0.5, sometimes reaching a miraculous 1.0. BT say on a website that I am too far from the cabinet and that they are looking at ways of providing a service. They have said that for two years. I have consulted every organisation I can think of, but there is never any positive response. It seems to be impossible to get proper information. Only recently someone has said that my phone line is connected to another cabinet that is 5k away, but I have no way of checking, given the fact that neither BT nor Openreach will deal with personal matters.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Linda McCulloch says:
12 July 2017

Wet live within 10 miles of gchq in a house built last year and a new unfinished road surface and our average speed from BT is 2.5 Mbps. Why wasn’t adequate broadband cabling installed during the build?

This comment was removed at the request of the user

It is bad enough living with poor internet speeds (I appreciate that we are luckier than sum in having a connection at all and our speeds are poor – c 4 mbs when I did your test, though not the very lowest) – but why do we have to pay such large amounts for the privilege of having such a poor service? Time after time when I have been excited by some new broadband deal I have been disappointed as it is not available on our exchange. No deals, no choice, and high prices for a poor service is all that we are left with. Why are exchanges like ours ‘not open to competition’ as I have been told under the latest deal that I cannot benefit from?

This comment was removed at the request of the user

We live about 300 yds from the Cabinet in our village (no idea where our local exchange is).
Fibre to the Cabinet, Copper wire to the house.
I seem to recall BT offered “Up to 76 mbps Download”.
According to the Which? Speed check (once – today), I get about 80mbps Download, according to BT Speed check (over several months) I get about 55 mbps Download.
However, after doing the Which? Speed check I was offered nothing local from BT with which to compare.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Stephen Smith says:
12 July 2017

Hi there. I have a caravan in Pluckley in Kent and i have no connections at all ,no mobile and no broadband. maybe you can help us in your campain.

Regards.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Kevin Oubridge says:
12 July 2017

Our download speed is 6.5 mbps, which is about half the average for Shropshire. Our main problem is that it regularly drops out. Other problems are that, to ensure our internet calls stay connected we have to turn off video and make sure nobody else is using the broadband for anything else.

Our upload speed is 0.9 mbps, which isn’t quite good enough for a VOIP line that doesn’t drop out all the time, so we’ve had to cancel our VOIP contract.

I have investigated a number of times upgrading to superfast but the various engineers I have spoken to have said it isn’t available and, on two occasions, they said it is available but our superfast speed would be 1.5 mbps, which is less than a quarter of the our current speed, so should actually be called superslow.

Slow and flaky broadband isn’t harming our business at the moment, although it is inconvenient. However, I am concerned that the situation will get worse rather than better, particularly when we start using more broadband based services and those services require increasingly higher speeds.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I live in an area where cable broadband from Virgin and fibre broadband from BT are readily available. However I live in a block of flats which only have copper telephone cables installed. Consequently we are only able to get a maximum of 3Mb/s internet speed while our neighbours next door can get up to tens of times faster. Our landlord is unwilling to do anything about it. Openreach is not going to do anything about it. Can anyone suggest how I can get faster internet service without moving home?

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Thanks for your reply. I understand BT and Virgin are two different companies. Both are serving this area. I reckon the real problem here is neither the landlord nor any telecoms company is willing to pay for the cost of the extra installation inside the building. You are right that there is nothing I can do here.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Douglas Wragg says:
12 July 2017

I have just used the speed test, and the results are:-
Response time = 240ms
Download speed = 7.0 Mbps
Upload speed = 2.9 Mbps

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Moira says:
12 July 2017

I did the Which speediest and obtained a download of 3Mbps – this is in urban Berkshire! I sent the letter advising that the speed falls far short of the advertised “up to 17Mbps” and only since then I have experienced interference on my emails and phone!! I have complained constantly since November 2016 but came to the eventual conclusion only a fibre service will resolve the issues- is this true or should I look elsewhere for the supply of broadband? The one offered also appears to be among the most expensive! I am so disillusioned, being taken advantage of.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

John Henderson says:
13 July 2017

We are 30 miles from Central London in aChilterns village where we have an average speed 2.5 mips download. We are 2 miles from exchange, BT / Open Reach say they have no plans to upgrade us. We have a verbal preliminary quote of Ā£45,000 (amongst about 30 users) to install a new box in the village. How come we have to pay for what the great majority get ” free”?

To add insult to injury, for the last 18 months our home has had a problem on our BT broadband where’s the broadband disconnects when the phone rings. This is a real pain when doing banking. 7 engineers have been and gone since last October and the problem remains. We have had numerous new filters, 4 new routers and a complete new house phone system without success.

Why should I pay for a service which is partially broken. BT won’t let me speak to Open Reach (an independent company) which BT tell me is not public facing. It’s a complete scandal. To add insult to injury, Open Reach turn up in a van with the words “Super fast broadband” on the rear. I suggest they should be forced to cover these words up and have “slow broadband” displayed whenever they enter areas where speed is less than 10mips.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Roger says:
15 July 2017

Hi John, We also live in the Chilterns. In our case we are some 7 km of abraided copper cable from our exchange we get less than 0.5mb/sec down that ! Fortunately we can see from our chimney a good 4G providers mast a couple of KM away and get good 4G data from that. As far as pressure on BT is concerned they just hate competition. For our saga see https://connect8.org/
Good luck

JMO says:
14 July 2017

We cannot get broadband where we live – we are about 4-5 miles from the nearest exchange, but apparently our phone line is on the exchange that’s further, about 9 miles away. As we’re in a dip we cannot get satellite broadband either so we have to rely on adequate (lags if trying to do anything heavy), but relatively expensive 3G dongles which have a maximum of 40 GB per month. This isn’t ideal with 3 teenagers and a main self employed business run from home, plus a part time second self employment. We’ve tried many things over the years, and are frustrated that nearly EVERYTHING is referred to online. Helplines, including government, always advise online solutions, schools assume their students can look up and download anything, and many pages we open now have ads and graphics embedded that contribute to using our data up quite quickly, probably assuming everyone has unlimited. We had been paying for landline, dongle, top ups to dongle when we run out, and mobile phones with mobile data (not great signal). We’ve just cancelled our landline, despite it being a main business number, because we can no longer justify it.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

How about Which campaigning for this idea. Mobile internet speeds in some areas are better than will ever be delivered by ADSL (copper) or Fibre. If eg BT only offers ADSL in an area e.g. Less that 5MB/s…. but mobile delivers 50 MB/s. But mobile packages are more expensive and capped. So let’s have a law which says mobile internet should be sold at same rates to fibre … say a price per megabit….to those houses/businesses who can’t get fibre. Or where fibre performance is say 70% or less of advertised rates. Not for use on phones but for wifi routers for home/business use. Let’s face it for our home internet we don’t care how it’s delivered, only how fast it is.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Derek says:
16 July 2017

I live just over 2 miles from the BT exchange and less than 100 yards from the distribution cabinet for my house. My current speed is supposed to be “up to” 17Mb/s.
My broadband speed, when performing well, is about 3.1Mb/s. The usual speed is around 2Mb/s, with regular drop-outs. Reliability is a complete non-starter. Online television is out of the question. But I am having to pay the same as everyone else.
My daughter, living about twice the distance from the SAME exchange, has fibre service, with speeds far above mine.
I applied for fibre, when available, over 5 years ago, when it was first mooted by BT. Before that a “superfast” copper service was promised for the area, but after regular 6 monthly slippages, this was quietly forgotten.
My cabinet has recently become fibre-enabled but, surprise surprise, I have been informed the “limited fibre connections” have already been exhausted. No expansion is in prospect.

We are with sky internet and pay Ā£40.0 per month with a maximum speed of 3.5gb

Elaine says:
17 July 2017

I have Literally been reduced to tears by my BT Broadbannd. Download Speeds of 0.3Mb are actually reasonable for my line, but they have been 0.023Mb, but it is the fact that it drops out several times a day on a good day, and 10-15 times an hour on a poorish one. Of course, that does not take into account the days when I am begging them to reboot the line from the Exchange, but they are telling me that the engineer needs to access my home. They don’t. They never do, it ALWAYS just needs rebooting at the exchange, and they can do it from their desk, if they want to.
I have begged the engineers to try to get something done. They sympathise, but that means Openreach spending MONEY. BT tell me that there is No Point in their requesting Openreach to take action on the 10 local lines which all have the same difficulties – Openreach is “Contractually Bound” to take no notice (I kid you not!) and my MP has sent me a copy of the local plans to improve the Broadband, which, ironically, are NOT including our homes in their improvements!
I have been advised that, in order to get a better Broadband service the only option is for me to move house. Regrettably, the loss in value caused by the Broadband service means that it will cost me tens of thousands of pounds in lost home value, and although I could, theoretically, get satellite broadband, it would cost me Ā£400 this year, more next, and I am receiving disability benefits which do not allow such luxuries.
All this may seem that I hold a grudge against BT, but the reverse is actually true. Before I became disabled I worked for them, and receive a pension from them! All I Really want is to receive a decent service, the broadband service which I have been paying.
Am I REALLY expecting too much in 2017?

MC says:
19 July 2017

In the latest issue of the magazine the Which? Fix Bad Broadband campaign highlights slowest broadband speeds of 6.3Mbps. I’m afraid there are speeds a lot lower than that and you need to highlight the fact. Our speed here in north Northumberland is less than 1Mbps. Yes, less than 1!!! And no immediate prospect of any improvement Get real Which?