/ Technology

Why are we happy to put up with bad broadband?

Annoyed man head-butting laptop

Our recent broadband satisfaction survey found that even the unhappiest customers don’t always leave. Eight out of ten of those with the worst performing provider (AOL Broadband) have never switched. But why?

If a service isn’t brilliant, but doesn’t really cause too much trouble, I can see why switching might not seem like a priority.

But as our satisfaction survey shows, even those of us who are really unhappy with the service we’re getting don’t make the effort to leave. Now that sounds a bit odd to me – so what’s stopping us?

Why won’t you switch?

We recently heard from lots of you who agreed that using your internet service provider’s email address can put you off switching. But the most common reasons not to switch are fears that something will go wrong, and concerns about the effort involved.

I think it’s unfair that providers can use these advantages to keep unhappy customers with them. A good step in the right direction would be to make the switching process itself as easy as possible. Thankfully, if you’re moving from one ADSL service to another, the current process should be fairly simple.

But it’s a different story if you’re trying to swap more than one service (like your TV and broadband) at the same time.

There’s a future issue to consider here too – as more people take up superfast broadband, switching from these could be a much more complicated process, new networks are being installed for which switching processes have yet to be developed or agreed.

Efforts to make it easier to switch

Ofcom’s currently looking into what needs to be done to make switching easy and hassle free. It also wants to make sure that the switching process doesn’t get in the way of providers competing to offer lower prices and greater choice. Well that all sounds ideal to me!

We want to make sure that your views are represented in Ofcom’s current review of broadband switching – so tell us about your experiences, good and bad.

If you’re unhappy with you broadband service, what’s keeping you with them? And what do you think broadband providers could do to make it easier to switch?

Eyelid says:
28 June 2012

There’s no point in changing ISPs if the problem is with the line and infrastructure and there’s no alternative line provider. If you live deep in the bush and far away from the BT exchange as we do here, where 640 Kbps download speed is the exception and line damage and damp connections make even the land ‘phone line unreliable or noisy, and 3G with a dongle is not available, then the only option for any practicable Internet connection is satellite broadband. I’m surprised there has been no discussion here about satellite services. Last year I had Tooway Direct install a dish and connection which so far has been very reliable, and not hugely expensive to run — initially £25 pm which I had to upgrade to £40 pm for an essential 16GB pm download allowance — I’m not sure that it delivers up to the advertised 8.2 Mbps but it does all that I need. Ok, £480 a year is not cheap, but it’s cheaper than walking to your local for three pints of bitter a week, so you have to decide on your priorities….. Another bonus of satellite broadband is that the dish can also receive HD (Freesat) TV with the appropriate module for a very small cost (£80 or so for the module and c. £100 for cabling and installation and no payments after that). I’m now waiting for this to be installed so I can’t report either way on it yet but I’m hopeful that it lives up to expectations.

David says:
30 June 2013

The first three comments pretty much explain why people are reluctant to switch. To me it looks like someone has spilt something on their keyboard and then wiped it off. I have absolutely no idea what they are saying, and I know that if I try to speak to my service provider he will speak in jargon and acronyms just the same.

I know that all I will happen is that I will feel used, abused, humiliated and embarrassed if I go anywhere near my provider.

If you think this is an exaggeration bear this in mind. I have Asperger’s and find talking on the phone to people I don’t know very awkward.

ps. I’m also a techno-dinosaur!


I have had my phone line with BT for 13 years and my broadband with Orange. If I transfer my phone line to the Post Office would I be able to keep my phone number and would my Orange Broadband still be available to me without the need to contact Orange?
I’m tired of paying £6 a quarter processing charges to BT and now they have introduced a £2 a month charge for the 1571 service that used to be free. Apart from needing a BT line for my Orange Broadband I only make about £3 of calls a quarter so paying around £12 a quarter for the 1571 service and processing charges is ridiculous.
Any advice would be appreciated.


Why not take your line to Orange? It should get you cheaper BB.

As long as your line remain’s BT WLR (Wholesale Line Rental) Orange BB will continue on it.

BT 1571 (& Privacy at Home with Caller Display) are being charged £1.75 pm from 4th. Jan.

3 x £2 = £6 not £12!


The £12 I referred to was the three x £2 payments and the £6 processing charge BT charge totalling £12 that I wouldn’t have to pay the post office if I transferred to them.
The good thing about the post office is that I wouldn’t have to pay my phone bill by direct debit as I would have to if I transferred it to Orange. I already have a direct debit with orange for my broadband and it suits me to pay the phone bill with cash.I would save quite a bit switching to the post office for the landline compared to orange and BT. If I could be certain that my orange broadband would continue without any hitch if I switch to the post office then I would do it today.


PO is in the process of switching their BB to TalkTalk, a Full LLU provider. However:

http://forums.thinkbroadband.com/postoffice/f/4261228-qa-on-the-changes-underway-at-post-office.html :
”1. Will voice only customers remain on a WLR Product?
Yes all voice only customers will remain on WLR. This means any broadband from other providers where you just have Post Office voice line rental will be unaffected.”