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Survey Claims Two Thirds of Londoners Suffered Broadband Woes

Friday, July 24th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 913
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A new YouGov poll of 1,000 UK adults in London, which was conducted between 2-6th July 2020 and commissioned by full fibre broadband ISP G.Network (vested interest), has claimed that 59% of London residents would want to keep working from home at least some days of the week if only their broadband was better.

The COVID-19 crisis and associated lockdown forced many people to start working from home full time and, as businesses start to recognise the benefits, then it’s widely anticipated that this may lead to greater adoption of remote working practices going forward, provided your home internet connection can cope.

The 59% figure mentioned above actually breaks down like this – 31% of those polled said that they would want to work from home full time with better connectivity, while a further 28% would only opt to work from home on some days.

The same survey also found that two-thirds of Londoners have experienced problems with their broadband speed or reliability since lockdown started. Some 43.4% of those polled said they had reliability issues, such as connection drop outs, while 22.6% have encountered issues with their speed.

Meanwhile just 7.1% of those polled said that they wanted to return to their workplace every day, even if their broadband worked better. The study also found that broadband problems are affecting how Londoners feel. Some 22.1% reported feeling more stressed because of their connection problems, with a further 12.7% saying they had been unable to relax at home and 12.6% adding that their connectivity had had an impact on productivity.

Interestingly nearly half (48.6%) of those surveyed said that streaming or doing video calls with colleagues or friends had been impacted by their broadband problems.

Caveats of the Survey

However, we have explored before why such statistics should be taken with a big pinch of salt (here), not least since this could be just as much a reflection of consumer choice (e.g. taking a slower / cheaper package when faster options exist). Not to mention that slow WiFi or other local network problems, as well as performance issues with remote internet servers (not just broadband), may also be to blame.

Lest we forget that various studies of broadband performance during the height of the COVID-19 crisis showed little impact upon ISP speeds (examples here, here and here). At the same time the fact that people were forced to spend more time at home may have made them more aware of outages or problems that would have otherwise gone largely unnoticed.

On the other hand, some operators, such as Virgin Media, did suffer a couple of big outages during the lockdown and the impact from those was probably magnified by the wider COVID-19 crisis (i.e. from time-to-time such outages will occur on any network, but this time we all noticed them more than usual).

David Sangster, G.Network Chief Operating Officer, said:

“Londoners have been remarkably resilient throughout the pandemic. Many have quickly adapted to working from home, but it’s disappointing that their broadband is letting so many of them down.

Many people assume that broadband in our big cities works well. But these numbers make clear that connectivity in our capital just isn’t delivering. London needs an broadband upgrade if people are going to be working, socialising and learning more online – and we are proud to be rolling out the critical new full fibre infrastructure needed to deliver it.”

Naturally G.Network has a vested interest here because they’ve been very busy deploying a new gigabit-capable (10Gbps) Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband network to homes and businesses across parts of central London. We think they’ve so far completed the roll-out to around 100,000 premises and rising.

On the other hand it’s worth remembering that not even FTTP makes home workers immune to problems with slow WiFi, occasional network faults at the ISP or performance woes caused by remote internet servers etc.

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