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Study Claims £2.2bn Paid for UK Mobile Data Due to Poor Home Internet

Thursday, May 30th, 2019 (12:01 am) - Score 1,723

A new piece of research from WiredScore and the HomeOwners Alliance has claimed that British homeowners and renters are having to pay out £2.2 billion each year in “unnecessary” mobile data (3G / 4G) fees because they suffer from “poor internet” connectivity at home.

The study, which is based on feedback from 150 UK residential building developers (Censuswide) and an Opinium survey of 1,000 homeowners and 1,000 renters, found that 85% of British renters and homeowners suffered WiFi related “connectivity issues” and “failing services” (apparently this equated to “20 service breakdowns per month“).

The above issues are said to be forcing affected users to gobble an additional 2.5GB (GigaBytes) of extra mobile data each month in order to compensate for their “poor WiFi” at home. However WiFi is a local network issue and to conflate this with wider internet or broadband ISP connectivity issues would be wrong (i.e. they could solve it with a better router, WiFi extender or mesh network), but sadly that’s what this survey does next.

Given the above, it’s perhaps no surprise that 28% of British homeowners and renters say they would not have moved into their property if they’d known about the connectivity issues beforehand, but once again if WiFi is the focus here then the problem is solvable (i.e. don’t blame the broadband connection or property itself).

Nevertheless residential developers are now said to be “waking up to the dire state of the UK’s connectivity infrastructure and the potential gains of delivering higher-quality service.

Future Improvements

Some 60% developers now claim to have already improved their current planning applications in line with the new National Planning Policy Framework, not least in order to support next-generation 5G mobile and “full fibre” (FTTP) broadband connections. A further 29% have similarly resolved to improve future applications.

On top of that three-quarters of developers report that some of their current projects will have “full fibre” connectivity and 19% report all will have this. Likewise 59% of residential developers report that they are adopting different building techniques in order to help mobile signals reach indoors (treated glass, steel frames and metalised insulation tend to obstruct such signals).

Meanwhile over half of developers claimed to be undertaking Radio Frequency (RF) surveys in order to better understand the connectivity inside their buildings, and installing new technologies to boost in-building signal (e.g. DAS and small cells).

The Benefits of Good Digital Connectivity Services:

* Two-thirds (61%) of residential developers report they can rent their properties at a higher price and/or with a greater yield

* Two-fifths (40%) see an increased demand for their properties

* More than half (56%) report they can rent their properties for longer, due to the improved in-home experience

* Nearly half (47%) stated that it enabled them to sell their properties for a greater price

William Newton, President and EMEA MD at WiredScore, said:

“Connectivity is critical to almost every aspect of our lives – social, leisure and working – with most adult internet users typically spending 24 hours online each week – almost double the time spent in 2007. The residential development community has long shouldered the important responsibility of maintaining and improving residential digital infrastructure in line with a rapid growth in consumer demand.

Our research shows their renewed commitment to supporting 5G and full fibre connections, but it’s important that the right investments are made to assure an improved in-home experience. In addition, it’s also crucial that the residential market understands how to design and retrofit future-proofed properties, as well as communicate the investment to prospective homeowners or renters.”

At this point we once again have to point out that many of the connectivity issues being referenced earlier stem from questions about WiFi performance (e.g. the remark about 20 service breakdowns per month flowed from a survey question about in-home WiFi coverage). Sadly the press release doesn’t make the aforementioned distinctions between WiFi and broadband very clear (they’ve promised to correct that in the future).

No doubt some others will thus end up reporting on this study by suggesting that 85% of British renters and homeowners suffered problems with their broadband connection, which is not in fact the case. Similarly if people were suffering from 20 broadband breakdowns a day then it would surely show up like a sore thumb in lots of other studies and network figures (it doesn’t, at least not to that extreme).

One other grey area here stems from that minority of consumers who choose to completely swap to Mobile Broadband (4G) at home, not only because it can in some areas be fast and flexible enough to replace their fixed line service but also because they can save money by scrapping their old fixed line service(s). The next generation of ultrafast 5G connections may encourage more people to follow suit.

Leave a Comment
8 Responses
  1. Avatar Bert says:

    We have recently moved to three and needed to make a choice between 3mbs on BT or 15 on three (can get higher with an new router as I have put an external antenna up). We are supposed to have fastershire/gigaclear but time and time again they have failed to install and have slipped back again and again. They were supposed to start install (again 4th delay) in Q1….Guess what still waiting for fasterfailure…

  2. Avatar StillWaitingForSuperFast says:

    Three to the rescue for us too in rural North Somerset. Choice of 7mbs on ADSL or 60+ mbs on Three 4G. Luckily we got the unlimited data option on Three for £20 per month so its actually cheaper too.

    Increasingly I find that people confuse WiFi problems with broadband issues. WiFi problems are so easy to solve though – we just bought some WiFi enabled homeplugs for the ‘notspots’ in the house. No need to rent these from BT as you can buy a kit for £40. Just plug one in wherever you need WiFi – sorted.

    1. Avatar Bert says:

      Funnily enough that is what we opted for, 2yr contract and if fastershire/gigaclear finally get thier acts together I may change but to be honest 15 to 20 is ample for us. Even looking at the cheapest package with GC we will save circa £15 by staying with Three.

    2. Avatar Bert says:

      Sorry to bother but did you change the B311 router or stick with the one provided as I am looking to get one with 2 antenna ports?
      Thank you.

    3. Avatar StillWaitingForSuperFast says:

      I stuck with the 311. But then, our mobile mast is not far from us.

    4. Avatar Bert says:

      Thank you.

  3. Avatar Brian says:

    Often people confuse WiFi and broadband, and seem to struggle to see where the problem lies. Support desks also seem to get confused similarly, when a problem clearly lies beyond the premises but insist on diagnosis for internal problems.

    I also have to use Three to supplement the 4Mbps ADSL, though the speeds on three rarely reach 20Mbps often under 10Mbps. Unfortunately have to maintain both fixed and mobile as the mobile often goes down, yesterday both Three and EE were down in the area.

  4. Avatar Gary says:

    If copper can be Fibre, then I cant see a problem with WiFi being broadband. :-/

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