/ Technology

Could you get faster broadband for less?

We’ve never been more reliant on a decent mobile or broadband connection. For many, these connections are a lifeline; the only means of reaching relatives or accessing care and support.

This is a guest post by Sharon White. All views expressed are Sharon’s own and not necessarily shared by Which?. 

Across the population, eight in 10 of us own a smartphone, more than half of us have a tablet, while smart TVs are among the fastest growing tech products out there.

You can choose from an array of different providers, and this choice is great for customers. Companies are fighting for business by offering us lower prices, wider coverage and better reliability.

But this choice also throws up challenges. For many of us, more options can be confusing.

Companies must not cut corners

The race to sign up new customers raises fundamental questions about how we are treated.

For example, who should get better deals? Customers who have stayed with the same provider for years and not switched to a rival? Or people who do the research and are happy to haggle?

And what protections are needed to allow businesses to compete and come up with new ideas, while making sure they don’t make things worse for customers in the process

However fierce the battle for people’s business gets, one thing is clear: we are not prepared to let companies cut corners on how they treat their customers.

Fairness for customers

Ensuring Fairness for Customers is a priority for Ofcom – particularly for those who may find themselves in vulnerable circumstances, whether through their income, age or a disability.

Where we see people – or small businesses – being treated unfairly, we step in quickly and take action. Such as the £7 per month line rental cut we secured for BT’s landline-only customers – most of whom are elderly. Or capping the price of calls to 118 directory enquiry numbers.

And while our research shows most people are satisfied with their broadband or phone, we understand there are some things that can be really frustrating.

Slow, expensive broadband is certainly one of those. Our research found that around half of homes able to get superfast broadband are still yet to take it up. This is because either they don’t know it’s available or they might think it will be more expensive.

Our Boost Your Broadband campaign, supported by Which?, gives simple advice on how you could get faster broadband, for the same or less than you pay now.

People’s needs are changing

Seeing your bill creep up after a promotional offer ends is another frustration. That’s why we recently published plans to make companies tell you when your contract is coming to an end and what their best offers are.

You can then decide whether you want to stick to the deal you’re on, or make a change.

We’re also taking action to support mobile customers. It can’t be right that people are left in the dark about how much they are paying for a mobile handset, minutes or data – so we’re looking at options to make sure they get clearer, fairer pricing.

But ensuring fairness for customers is not a task with an end. Technology, business practices and what we expect as customers are constantly evolving. And so too must the way we work.

With the help of bodies like Which? we must keep our ear-to-the ground not just on what companies are doing, but whether what they are doing is fair for customers. That is the ultimate test, and if we see companies falling short, we won’t hesitate to step in and stand up for you.

This was a guest post by Sharon White. All views expressed are Sharon’s own and not necessarily shared by Which?. 

Do you feel like you’re paying too much for broadband that just doesn’t suit your needs? Have you used Boost Your Broadband or Which? Switch to find out if you could get faster, cheaper broadband?

Let us and Ofcom know your experiences in the comments.

Comments
Guest
Roz Bewsher says:
15 March 2019

Unfortunately the post code checker on the Boost Your Broadband page gives incorrect information for the post codes in our Parish. It states that we can get Superfast Broadband which is completely wrong. We recently moved to TalkTalk who were adamant that they would guarantee 38Mbps. Many painful weeks later an Openreach engineer arrived on our doorstep to confirm that it is impossible for us to get such speeds as we are simply too far from the cabinet – in fact he was amazed we were getting 1.6Mbps. I spoke to Ofcom about the Boost Your Broadband page but they were completely disinterested. I think this is very bad since one expects that information on the Ofcom site, especially when sponsored by Which?, will be accurate.

Guest

I apologise if this is slightly off-topic, but as this is the only current Ofcom convo and scam phone calls fall under their jurisdiction………

I have just had a silent call from 01836120049. Googling the number brings up more information than normal.

Firstly landline phones codes in Amritsar Punjab India start 01836120000.

Secondly the number appears to be within a block of reserved UK numbers:
Phone range (01836120000 – 0018361200999)
https://finder-cal.com/01836120000

Can Ofcom say what these reserved blocks of numbers are?

I have suggested that all UK phone numbers that are not being paid for should be prevented from traversing our phone systems. That would stop an awful lot of unwanted calls that are on the increase again.