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30% of Superfast Broadband Users Aren’t Happy with its Performance

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017 (12:01 am) - Score 780

A new online survey of 1,970 ISPreview.co.uk readers has found that 41.9% haven’t switched ISP in the past 5 years. Meanwhile 46% have a “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) service but 29.6% of those aren’t happy with its speed and others can’t get the service due to issues of cost, desire or availability.

The main reason given for why those who don’t yet connect via a “superfast” service have not upgraded is because they claim that it isn’t available to them (50.6%), which is despite the Government estimating that 92% of UK premises should now be within reach.

Elsewhere 20.1% said they hadn’t upgraded because the service is too expensive, while 9.4% saw no need for a “superfast” speed and 7% wanted something much faster than “superfast” before they upgraded. At this point it’s worth remembering that 24Mbps is only the starting point for “superfast“, while “ultrafast” speeds arguably start from 100Mbps and up.

How many times have you switched ISP in the past 5 years?
Never – 41.9%
Once – 29.8%
Twice – 15.2%
Three Times – 9.1%
Four Times+ – 3.8%

If you have superfast broadband speeds (24Mbps+), are you happy with the performance?
Yes 70.4%
No 29.6%

If you don’t have “superfast”, why haven’t you upgraded?
It’s not available 50.6%
Too expensive 20.1%
I see no need 9.4%
I want even faster! 7%
Other 8.8%
Stuck in old contract 2.4%
It confuses me 1.8%

The question of availability is an interesting one since most premises should be within reach, although it’s possible that we might be seeing a higher proportion of votes from poorly served rural areas and this could be weighing on the results (many people have already upgraded and those that are left are thus more likely to be in this camp).

Similarly a 2014 survey by Broadband Delivery UK also found that 30% of homes covered by a 24Mbps+ capable network didn’t know it was available to them and 50% of adults weren’t even sure what it was. A combination of these factors may be at work above.

Another common mistake that a fair few people make is to assume that broadband is all part of one network and as a result some people may abandon the search for a faster connection after a single failed availability check. The UK is of course home to a patchwork of various different network platforms and ISPs, thus consumers could easily miss out on a faster connection by simply failing to cast their net a little wider.

For example, BT, Sky and TalkTalk (plus many others) all predominantly use Openreach’s fixed line infrastructure, but Virgin Media has their own independent cable network and it’s a similar story for others like B4RN, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear and so forth. Not to mention the huge variety of different Fixed Wireless and Satellite ISPs, as well as 4G Mobile Broadband operators.

Meanwhile this month’s new survey asks whether you’ve ever saved money by negotiating a lower price with your broadband ISP or mobile operator? Vote Here.

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar Steve Jones says:

    “The main reason given for why those who don’t yet connect via a “superfast” service have not upgraded is because they claim that it isn’t available to them (50.6%), which is despite the Government estimating that 92% of UK premises should now be within reach.”

    Isn’t the obvious reason for this that a survey using a self-selecting response group is unlikely to be representative of the population as a whole? I would venture that those with provision issues are more likely to respond and, quite likely, to be users of the site.

    Rule #1 of surveys is that self-selecting groups cannot be guaranteed to be typical of the population as a whole.

    1. Avatar MikeW says:

      On top of that, we have a strange anomaly in the results.

      In the answer to one question, we find 43% don’t have superfast. In the answer to the other question, we find 46% that do have superfast.

      That’s only 89%, but it ought to be 100%. 11% of respondents – over 200 people – have chosen a seemingly invalid combination of answers.

      With 11% too few responses in those two answers, it means there are 11% too many responses somewhere in the other responses. That, in turn, could radically alter the conclusions.

      That makes me wonder
      – Are the respondents people or bots?
      – Was the impact systematic or random?
      – What happens to the overall results if you take out those responses with an invalid combination?
      – When you consider just the responses with an invalid combination, what are the results? Perhaps, for example, someone chose to answer Q2 saying that they had superfast but weren’t happy with performance, and then chose to answer Q3 saying that it was too expensive.

    2. Avatar MikeW says:

      I mean to add:

      Rule #2 of surveys is that some people lie. The answers here suggest that.

  2. Avatar DTMark says:

    Switched once, from Three 3G to EE 4G.

    Happy with it? Well, it streams HD TV perfectly and is glitch-free. Latency is fine and it’s quite quick, 30 to 50 downstream. These days far closer to 30.

    100GB/mo for £75 a month isn’t that expensive in itself, but is way above what cable would cost for the same level of performance downstream both here and in, for example, The Netherlands.

    Speed is variable and has started to slow down lately with take-up, like VDSL can albeit for different reasons.

    Importantly, nothing BT or BDUK have done, has made “superfast” speeds possible here. Cabinet is too far away (> 800m). This was a “market” delivery.

    Able to switch ISP just by changing a SIM card. Which is nice.

    There remains nothing of relevance on the fixed line network for £75/mo.

    40 to 50 Meg upstream is quite nice, still way in excess of what fixed-line can accomplish.

    But that says more about the poor quality of fixed line than it does about the wonders of 4G. That connecting over the air to a transmitter slightly further away than the phone exchange is, is still much faster than connecting a bit of wire to e much nearer cabinet. DSL remains lacklustre at best.

    It’s OK for now.

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