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ISP Survey Claims 42% of UK Households Face Issues with Slow Internet

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019 (1:32 pm) - Score 2,002

A new survey of 2,000 UK consumers, which was conducted by broadband ISP Zen Internet, has claimed that the top technical difficulties experienced at home were slow internet connections (42%), devices disconnecting from WiFi (25%), internet outages (23%), trouble setting up new devices (22%) and computer viruses (13%).

According to Zen we’ve become a nation of IT managers, with British households said to be losing an average of 1 hour a week to “technical issues” like those above (estimated to be equivalent to £1,062 a year of the average IT Manager’s salary). Meanwhile 36% of respondents said they were frustrated at people expecting them to have all the answers, while 27% are most frustrated with the time it takes to fix issues and 22% were irritated at how often the same problems arise.

More worrying perhaps is the claim that 20% of those surveyed reported that IT problems had caused arguments with family members and in the case of 12 people these arguments have even led to divorce. We’d take that with a pinch of salt because generally speaking it normally takes more than IT problems to cause a divorce.

Sadly almost one in four (23%) felt that the tech problems in their home were “beyond their control” and 42% admitted that they often turn to the well-known adage of switching the problematic device or service off and on again, whilst 31% would rather trawl online forums for advice.

Common Problems Caused by Connectivity Issues

* Almost a third (31%) have been unable to access online banking.

* One in four (24%) say that they have missed a favourite TV show or film on a streamed service such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer.

* More than one in 10 (15%) complain that they have lost crucial documents for work.

* One in 10 (11%) say that they have ordered the same product twice.

The survey also found that 17% of people said they felt “trapped” by their current ISP and, of those who feel their current broadband service is not fit for purpose (12%), some 49% say it fails to deliver the speed they expect.

Zen has a vested interest in selling themselves as the higher quality alternative, although even they won’t be able to resolve all of the above issues. As Richard Tang, Founder and Chairman of Zen, said: “Access to a fast and reliable internet service has become a pivotal part of everyday life. However, UK consumers are often let down with slow speeds and poor reliability.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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21 Responses
  1. Joe says:

    Not sure how you miss something on ‘catchup/streaming’

    Ordered a product twice. Err? If thats the case you have more than IT problems

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Depends on the service but I’m guessing that’s a reference to the fact that licensing agreements do expire, so content is often only available for a limited window before disappearing. Sometimes 7 days, sometimes a few months.

    2. Joe says:

      “One in four (24%) say that they have missed a favourite TV show or film on a streamed service such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer.”

      You may be right but you’d have to be rare customer to lose net for 7 days. (Albeit I lost mine for 5 a few years back in storms)

    3. Mark Jackson says:

      True but equally I supposed the programme could be just about to expire and so the user missed their plan to watch it on the last day / few hours, which has happened to me a couple of times (albeit not due to connectivity issues but just good old fashioned forgetfulness).

    4. Brian says:

      Streaming rental is often only for two days, so would be quite easy for an outage to mean a loss of the rental.

    5. tim says:

      You would not need to lose your connection entirely to miss content on your fave streaming service. If you have a poor connection where your speed suddenly drops that would be enough to disrupt it. No good trying to watch content that requires say a 10Mb connection if your line has a fault and your speed has dropped below that. You would have to be pretty desperate to sit there watching the content buffer every 30 seconds to even consider it watchable. Speed drop connection issues can last several days and if it is a genuine connection issue out side of your control you can wait a week for an appointment from BT etc to come out and fix things.

      As for ordering something twice. That is not beyond the realm of possible with a poor connection. You could quite feasibly click on the “buy now” button only for the the next webpage to not load or not load correctly, so you click on refresh and the transaction processes for a second time (granted that is rare and for most sites nowadays would not happen, for those that it can still happen on any decent company would soon correct things for you also, but still is possible).

  2. TheFacts says:

    Almost a third (31%) have been unable to access online banking.

    How often, how many times, etc. Because they cant log on maybe.

    1. tim says:

      Yeah that one is a bit bizarre if they can access any other website they should not have banking issues as those sites are normally pretty basic (content wise) webpages. Online banking not working is more likely down to the banks site playing up or the user not logging on correctly rather than you ISP in most cases i would think.

    2. Jim Weir says:

      There are a number of ISP side issues that can affect access to online banking and similar, or which end users would blame on broadband.

      Dynamic Public IP blacklisted
      Change of public IP – best example is a mi ole switching from WiFi to Cellular or Visversa

      Most users will blame the connection first before thinking is the app needing an update, bank side system outage etc

    3. GNewton says:

      @Jim Weir: Blacklisting by IP-address is always dangerous. Most users only have dynamic IP-addresses. There are better ways to blacklist users.

  3. TheFacts says:

    10% of online orders are duplicated? Really?

    1. Name says:

      That is possible if for example internet has stopped working when you clicked on submit/complete/order and you don’t know if you paid/bought that or not whilst the email confirmation won’t come in. Usually some people in that case repeat the process blindly.

    2. TheFacts says:

      But 10%?

    3. ac000 says:

      I’ve ordered the same DVDs twice as I forgot I’d already got them.

      But that’s hardly an *IT* issue, it’s just PEBKAC!

    4. GNewton says:

      From our ecommerce software development/deployment experience the 10% figure is not unusual. The UK has a notoriously unreliable internet in many areas.

    5. TheFacts says:

      Would Amazon etc. agree? I doubt it.

  4. wireless pacman says:

    And the thing is that a symmetric 1 Gbps full fibre connection will most likely not resolve most of those issues.

  5. SimonM says:

    Put me down for the “have ordered the same product twice”.

    And I intended to. Bought one before, at an offer price, offer was repeated a few months later so ordered another. Same for buying Pizza from Dominos online, ordered the same pizza twice, a few months apart. Also memory cards, had some, used them and wanted to some more, saw the price was good and ordered again.

    Not sure that’s the best of questions to ask, as it seems a bit open to interpretation.

    In fact, “been unable to access online banking” would also be true, but that was because the online banking was down for maintenance, not my broadband connection.

    And I suppose you could say I’ve “missed a favourite TV show” as in miss it still being on as the series ended and it there isn’t a new series planned for a few months, but watched all of them at the time when they were on and look forward to them being on again – definitely miss my favourite TV show not being on at the moment.

    Stick to the broadband Zen, not the silly surveys that seem more fitting to YouGov or Which.

  6. chris conder says:

    Bit like the silly statistics that say 98% of the country has ‘superfast fibre broadband’.

    1. TheFacts says:

      @CC – link please to that exact wording.

    2. TheFacts says:

      31% said they had been unable to access online banking once in the last 10 years…

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