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Flawedband: almost three in five households experience problems with provider

More than half of British households have experienced a problem with their broadband service in the last year, according to the latest results of the Which? Broadband satisfaction survey.

The survey of more than 1,900 broadband customers across 12 providers found common problems including price hikes, poor speeds, connection dropouts and router issues –  highlighting why plans to introduce automatic compensation by 2019 are so vital.

Virgin Media customers were the most likely to have experienced a problem with their broadband service, with three quarters (73%) telling Which? they had some kind of difficulty in the last year, typically due to price. Virgin was followed by Sky (62%) and BT (61%), while Zen Internet achieved the lowest proportion of complaints, with a quarter (25%) of customers saying they had experienced a problem.

The biggest complaint from consumers was around recent price increases, affecting one in five (22%) of people Which? surveyed. Virgin Media customers were twice as likely to have had a problem with price hikes (47%). This was also the top complaint for BT (30%) customers.

Slow speeds was the second biggest problem, affecting one in five (21%) broadband customers. TalkTalk customers were more likely to experience very slow speeds than any other provider included in the survey, with three in ten (31%) customers being affected.

Connection dropouts were an issue for nearly one in five (17%) of the households surveyed. A quarter of SSE customers (23%) were affected, followed by TalkTalk (22%) and BT (21%) customers.

Nearly one in five of the customers (17%) surveyed experienced problems with their router. Virgin Media customers were the most likely to be affected with a quarter (25%) telling Which? this had been a complication for them in the last year. They were also the most likely to be left with no internet at all for hours or even days at a time (15%), this was also a problem for one in 10 (11%) of Post Office customers.

Other issues across the board included customers struggling to resolve queries with their provider (6%), problems getting in touch with their provider (5%), a long wait for an engineer to visit (3%), incorrect or unexpectedly high bills (3%) and exceeding the usage limit (2%).

BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet – who together serve around 90% of landline and broadband customers in the UK – have agreed to automatically compensate customers affected by slow repairs, missed appointments and delayed installations by February 2019 as a result of plans introduced by Ofcom.

Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said:

“It’s clear that too many households are still suffering from substandard broadband and our research shows that providers have a long way to go before they meet their customers’ expectations.

“Customers who suffer from a shoddy broadband service will welcome new measures for automatic compensation, however providers should do more to stop these problems from happening in the first place. Anyone not happy with the service they are getting should look to switch”

  • Which? surveys broadband providers twice a year, and generates customer scores (based on satisfaction), plus star ratings for a range of factors including speed, reliability and customer service. For the full results and to find out the best and worst broadband providers go to: which.co.uk/reviews/broadband-deals/article/best-broadband-providers

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