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Study Shows UK Home Renters Dissatisfied with their Broadband

Thursday, June 10th, 2021 (10:24 am) - Score 1,224
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A new survey conducted by Portland Communications, which was commissioned by CityFibre and the Quality of Life Foundation, has found that people who rent their accommodation were nearly twice as likely to describe their broadband ISP connection as only “average or unreliable” than those who own their own home.

The survey, which was conducted with a fairly small sample of 1,012 UK online adults (18+) during April 2021, warned that the issue for renters has had a “significant impact” on the nation’s ability to cope during the lockdown as homeowners found it a fifth (21%) easier than renters to perform tasks such as home working or online schooling.

The survey also noted how just 1% of respondents now say that the internet isn’t important at all to their lives, with 42% saying that the internet is now so important that their lives would be “impossible without it” (up more than a third from pre-pandemic levels).

In addition, some 69% of people – homeowners and renters – said they have experienced interruptions, such as service dropouts, in the past year. However, internet connectivity problems can also be caused by other areas than just the broadband ISP connection itself, such as poor home WiFi, problems on remote internet servers, local network congestion and errors in your home network configuration.

Meanwhile, the vast majority (87%) of respondents believe that making improvements to the speed and reliability of their broadband connection could improve their quality of life.

Greg Mesch, CEO at CityFibre, said:

“Lockdown has put pressure on every part of our lives, and the digital infrastructure supporting this country is no different. Slow and unreliable copper-based networks are no longer fit for purpose. The nation’s upgrade to fast and reliable Full Fibre connectivity can’t come soon enough.

What this research highlights is that those in rented or social accommodation are often worst affected by poor quality connectivity. Often the biggest challenge to address this is securing permissions from landlords to install new Full Fibre networks. Industry, landlords, and the Government must redouble efforts to overcome this barrier quickly to ensure that no one is left behind.”

Naturally, CityFibre are keen to promote the benefits of their new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network, which is currently being rolled out to 8 million premises across the UK (here). But it’s worth noting that the situation for people who rent their accommodation can be complicated and this will vary from place to place.

For example, sometimes the contract terms that come attached to a potentially better broadband package may run for longer than the lease on a rented home. Equally, in some properties you may only be able to access a shared network (often via WiFi) with the primary building owner / manager – or one where only certain networks’ are available, which can leave you at the mercy of the property owner’s decisions.

Sometimes having a new line installed may also require physical work to take place on the property, which the building owner may refuse for one reason or another. Suffice to say that it’s not always as simple as ordering the connection you want and then getting it, which perhaps helps to explain why broadband satisfaction among renters is so much lower. The same freedom to choose, when a choice is even possible, doesn’t always exist.

We should point out that work is underway to correct for some of this (here), but it’s a slow process toward implementation and won’t resolve everything.

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. biscuitbrew says:

    Genuinely had a hard time getting our landlord to agree to the work for an ONT to be fitted when we were wanting to get FTTP last year, got there eventually (thankfully). It’s amazing how landlords who refuse to carry out maintenance or drag their feet on fixing fairly large faults suddenly care an awful lot about their property when you want a small hole or two drilled and a little box mounted!

    1. Carl O says:

      We didn’t even ask our landlord for an ONT to be fitted, main reason being it was investment to improve the property, not reduce its value, and it’s tucked away in a corner.

      The old copper line would have had to be replaced and moved to another location for broadband, so wasn’t even a point worth arguing about to them.

  2. Evo says:

    Yep. I absolutely relish having an ISP that doesn’t listen to feedback, nor believe that the issue most of us want resolved being upload as opposed to faster download speeds as the only choice in my area. I especially love that it’s next to impossible to get through to a UK call centre and then feeling like a racist because you can’t understand a single word the woman at the other end is saying, even though she’s actually quite competent at reading from a cue card and really actually is quite pleasant and wants to help you.

    Thanks virgin.

  3. Buggerlugz says:

    Evo, you don’t have to be a renter to be dissatisfied with your broadband either. I know the feeling well. These companies deliberately outsource because its an easy way to pass the buck, get them to do nothing but read off the cards, promise the problems will be resolved and then do absolutely nothing to address them.

    This is today’s broadband in the UK sadly.

  4. Carl Owen says:

    I rent, and I’ve been with Sky FTTP 145/25 for 5.5 months and it’s been a dream. I think on one occasion it went off about 11pm for 20 mins but nothing else notable since.

    My previous landlord also had sky and in those 3 years never had one problem.

    As mentioned above, the old copper phone line is down by the stairs with no plug socket nearby, so wasn’t practical to have a hub plugged meters away on a line extension cable. We just ordered FTTP and the ONT was fitted no probs using the hole where the old sky cables fed into the living room. Didn’t even mention to the landlord – though I can’t imagine they would argue over better, future proofed, connectivity in the property at zero cost to them.

    1. WibbledOff says:

      Your landlord might not have argued, but it’s common courtesy to have asked them, especially as it’s their property

  5. Gary says:

    Survey with 1000 people vs 24 Million households, whatever

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