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GWS Finds Digital Divide in the UK from Slow Broadband Speeds

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020 (12:09 pm) - Score 816
slow as a snail uk network connection

A new study by Global Wireless Solutions (GWS), which was conducted by Censuswide with 2,007 UK adults during September to early November 2020, has determined that only 64% of properties have a “decent broadband” (10Mbps+) service and a third (30%) are suffering from “inadequate throughputs” (i.e. sub-2Mbps speeds).

The study also claims that professional lives are being impacted, as 37% admit they “judge the competence of colleagues” that have connectivity issues during voice and video calls (rising to 55% for those living in Greater London), which seems rather unfair since some people may not have much choice in the capability of their connection.

NOTE: The survey was 89% based on home broadband using respondents, as opposed to mobile networks.

When connected to their home internet, 62% of all respondents also reported experiencing a range of issues from being unable to load websites, stream videos or connect to video conferences. Due to these problems, over half (52%) of the respondents claimed they felt isolated at some point during the first national lockdown. Despite this the majority of the people (65%) intend to continue using video calling platforms.

The study also found that while those in urban areas were more likely to feel isolated by poor home internet connectivity, rural respondents were more likely to do something about it. Some 60% of urbanites admitted they felt unable to communicate effectively with others at some points during this year, yet this was the case for only 43% living in rural areas.

In terms of addressing these issues, 27% of all respondents said they would change ISP if the problems persisted, increasing to 39% for those living in rural areas. People are also relying increasingly on the availability of their mobile signal at home. When experiencing poor connectivity during a video call, 20% said that they will switch from their WiFi to their mobile broadband link.

The study added that some consumers are also optimistic about the promise of 5G, with 26% thinking that it will help fix the nation’s “digital divide” in the future (increasing to 34% for those living in urban areas).

Paul Carter, CEO of GWS, said:

“The fact that a third of homes in the UK don’t have sufficient speeds to perform routine tasks is disappointing. It’s a real eye opener, particularly at a time when everyone is at home and relying on their networks more than ever. Like it or loathe it, life as we know it has changed and having a sufficient internet connection is essential for being able to work and live. Without reasonable throughputs, consumers risk feeling disconnected, frustrated, and anxious.”

The result doesn’t come as a particular surprise, not least since around a quarter of the country still connect via slow ADSL based copper broadband lines, which is despite the fact that so-called “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) capable fixed broadband networks currently cover almost 97% of UK premises. Suffice to say that take-up and awareness of faster packages remains an issue.

At the same time, it should be remembered that some of the issues identified in this survey may also be caused by other problems, such as slow WiFi, local network congestion, general network faults or incorrect configurations etc. It’s not always due to a slow fixed line connection.

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Mark Jackson
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.
Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar G Cot says:

    Why don’t ISPs ship routers with a little LCD showing connection speed (it could cycle round Upload Download quality (errors etc as an overall measure)). Most consumers are not bothered about logging on to 192.168.1.1 etc to see the router stats. However a clear indication on the front would give them a better idea as to whether switching ISP (probably still staying on same network connection) will have an impact. Or whether, as article says problems with WiFi are really to blame

  2. Avatar The Facts says:

    30% < 2M? Really? Do SamKnows and TBB agree?

  3. Avatar The Real Facts says:

    Facts have been checked, they agree.

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