/ Technology

Superfast? I don’t think so

bad broadband

The broadband service many of us get simply isn’t good enough. That’s why we’ve launched a campaign to paint a true picture of broadband speeds across the UK

Fancy getting up at 4am just so you can do your online banking? How about having to queue up at an internet cafe to send a few emails? It doesn’t sound much fun. But it’s reality for many left behind while the rest of the UK gets ever-faster broadband.

Broadband firms love to bandy around phrases such as ‘superfast’ and ‘ultrafast’, and advertise connection speeds that, for many, are as impossible to get as the winning lottery numbers.

The government says that the lowest acceptable download speed is 10Mbps, but a House of Commons report last month revealed communities struggling to get anywhere near this.

It listed the village of Abererch in Wales as having the lowest speeds in the UK. Residents there report having to get up at all hours to use the internet before it slows to a complete crawl.

Our findings

Our latest broadband survey shows some improvements. But we also found there is still a massive difference between rural and urban areas.

Just 59% of rural premises had access to 30Mbps download speeds by June 2016. Pretty poor, given that the UK average is 90%.

Where I live in the West Country we have to pay £30 a month extra for a 4GB mobile phone mast that offers speeds of only 20Mbps. Farmers nearby have to go to internet cafes to send off forms they’re required by law to complete.

And these problems aren’t unique to rural areas – many residents in pockets of our towns and cities are also reporting struggles with slow speeds and constant buffering.

Taking action

Reliable and fast broadband is vital for anyone who wants to play a full role in our society. Whether it’s applying for a job, shopping online, doing online banking, or running your own business, you need a trustworthy internet connection.

It’s because so many of your daily experiences differ so widely from the superfast paradise promised by broadband providers that we have launched the Fix Bad Broadband campaign.

We want to paint a true picture of broadband speeds across the UK, and we’ll use that evidence to tackle the problem.

Our improved broadband speed checker lets you get a much clearer idea of what speed you should be expecting in your area.

And if yours isn’t what it’s supposed to be, we have tips and advice on how to improve your connection, and a free tool to help you to complain to your provider if you’re still not happy.

Comments
Member

BT are cutting 4000 jobs across the board -Worldwide –profits plunging 19 % to £2.4 Billion steps are being taken to re-rationalise the company . If people want FTTP for outreached areas then HMG+ OFCOM+the whole industry will need to help ( chip in funds ) Now tell me how the British public expect BT to pay for 100 % fibre to the Premises for GB ?? Have any of you seen Virgin Media+ Vodaphone,s +SKY,s GLOBAL profits ? Yet they are not being pressurised . Yet VM are outlaying £3 BILLION on Project Lightning why because they refuse to cover areas that BT are obliged to cover , it amounts to asset stripping -well known in the USA . Come on you business people cant you see whats before your eyes ? You are prepared for one of the last British companies to go down but not a sqeek of criticism about any US/foreign owned big business.

Member

Even the Labour Party are not proposing to renationalise BT, Duncan, so I don’t know where that idea comes from! The cost would be astronomical.

In one form or another the cost of supplying fibre to the premises will be borne by those customers that require it. The government is paying for fibre to the cabinet.

The fall in profits in the BT Group’s worldwide operations stems from accounting irregularities in their Italian subsidiary for which the Group has had to make provisions of £500 million. Not all international telecoms markets are as robust as the UK one which is dominated by BT.

Vodafone, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Sky are all UK companies. I believe the full takeover of Sky by 21st Century Fox still awaits European regulatory approval.

Member

RE-RATIONALISE (verb -past tense) John not nationalise , I know its bad grammar but it makes it easier to shorten the meaning although it is an accepted word , at least in the USA . I was using the other providers as an example of their wealth compared to BT -have a look at Vodaphone,s not whether they were British, or not(revenue £41 billion-operating income- £1,300 billion ) . RM is lobbying TM very heavily and would have a monopoly, if it goes through . Its the political control of SKY that gets me not its size , it heavily influences the public , especially in the USA . Why not ask Vodaphone to wire up 100 % of Britain -FTTP ? , they can afford it , and I bet TM has already asked them and got– no chance – no profit to the 5 % in remote , rural areas with miles of copper.

Member

Sorry, Duncan, I misread your post. I am not familiar with “re-rationalisation”. I expect in BT’s case it means to sort out their sprawling global empire and concentrate on communication services rather things like exchanges, cables and transmitters. I was also misled by your comment “You are prepared for one of the last British companies to go down but not a squeak of criticism about any US/foreign owned big business“.

Surely, the whole point of any “re-rationalisation” is to stop BT going down. Mr M would be wasting his time talking to Mrs M – the Sky deal is on the table and just awaiting clearance over which she has no control. BT/Openreach won’t provide fibre where it wouldn’t be profitable. That is the government’s obligation and even then Ofcom’s plan is only faster broadband [not necessarily entirely fibre] to 95% by the end of this year. I have seen no evidence that the PM has taken any interest in this policy; Ofcom does the dirty work.

Member

John -most frequent visitor to Downing Street -October -2015-September -2016= 10 (out of 10 ) News Corp -aka- Rupert Murdoch way above the BBC -Murdoch,s lobbying efforts are increasing new analysis finds- 5-2-2017 intensified ahead of recent government consultations on the Leveson Inquiry -News Corp execs meet with government ministers on 22 separate occasions , 18 of which were with ,either the PM /Chancellor of Culture Secretary and of those Rupert Murdoch was present on at least 8 occasions . I have a long list of info also involving a certain Tony Blair . SKY-SUN-21 st Century Fox =The Times-News Corp Group . I have more on the dates and times as well John.

Member

I am not surprised Murdoch was frequently calling at No 10 like a desperate door-to-door brush salesman but as probably the most significant media tycoon in the world today that is not surprising. Any government would want to have him on side. I expect the PM was trying to bend his ear on a range of topics. It’s what governments do. I read about all these happenings but not much seems to come of them on either side. I think a lot of them are just positioning moves.

I just noticed an excess of italic text in my preceding post. I must have failed to close the italic script at the end of the first paragraph. I’m clearly losing it.

Member

They play a dangerous game.

Member

It would be useful if Which? would show the download speeds needed for broadband users to perform all the tasks that are essential. I am not happy to see my hard-earned taxes used to provide broadband at a speed that is simply to provide others with audio or visual entertainment. So where is the line to be drawn between necessity and luxury?