People who move home are being left without access to broadband for an average of eight days, new research has revealed.
This is despite giving an average of 15 days’ notice to their provider of the move, well within the recommended 14 and 30 days’ notice required.
To combat the blackout in service, two thirds of those moving home say they have had to seek alternative measures such as buying a dongle in order to access the internet from home.
Blackout: House movers are cut off from broadband services for an average of eight days
Not having access to broadband at home can be particularly inconvenient when moving, because there is likely to be an increase in online tasks to complete, such as switching energy supplier or arranging deliveries of household items.
Households say the eight-day average blackout period is nothing new and they were experiencing the same delays 10 years ago, according to the comparison website uSwitch.
It showed us exclusively the results of a survey of 2,002 consumers who were asked about what happened to their broadband connection when they moved home.
Those who moved in the past year said they had to wait an average of eight days without a broadband connection.
Despite investment in the broadband and advancements in technology, those who had moved in the past eight to ten years recorded the same time period without the internet.
In the past year 66 per cent of those who moved home had to take out other measures to use the internet.
|Provider||Cancellation period||Set-up period||Early termination fees|
|Virgin Media||Minimum 30 days notice||QuickStart installation available in 4 – 14 days. An engineer install generally takes a little longer and you’ll be offered the next available date.||£10 – £24 x by number of months remaining of minimum period|
|BT||Minimum 30 days notice||Aim to set up within 14 days. If a brand new needs to be installed then it usually takes up to 15 working days from the time that you order||£12.50 – £27.50 multiplied by number of months remaining of minimum period|
|TalkTalk||Minimum 30 days notice||For existing lines, approximately 15 days after you placed your order. A new line installation will depend on the date chosen for your engineer visit.||£10.50 – £16 per month remaining of contract|
|Sky||Minimum 14 days notice||Maximum wait time is 14 days for phone line installation||£3.27 – £15.17 multiplied by number of months remaining of minimum period|
|Plusnet||Minimum 14 days notice||Between 10-12 working days||£8.51 – £10.86 multiplied by the number of months remaining of contract|
|Vodafone||Minimum 30 days notice||Dependent on whether an engineer is required to fit a new phone line – no estimated time given||£15 one-off cease fee plus £15.04 – £19.90 per month for the remainder of your contract|
During the blackout period, 45 per cent of respondents said they relied on their mobile phone, 13 per cent used a dongle, and 16 per cent stayed late at work to use the internet.
They were also asked what the most important priorities were when moving home.
The highest priority (given by 48 per cent of respondents), was giving out their new address and notifying their bank.
This was followed by sorting council tax, a priority for 43 per cent, and then registering with a new doctor and dentist, chosen first by 36 per cent.
Having a constant internet connection was a priority for 32 per cent of those asked, ahead of filling the cupboard with groceries, registering to vote and buying new furniture.
Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at uSwitch, says: ‘When we look at how internet services have changed over the last decade – from the inconvenience of dial-up to the advent of ultrafast – it’s pretty astonishing to think that we still risk having to go without internet when we move house.
Most of those moving give 15 days’ notice – yet are still being left without a broadband service
‘It’s not just the length of the switchover process, but also the confusion over when you need to warn your provider and how long you can expect to wait, as this all varies between suppliers and services. It would be far easier for consumers if there were consistent notice periods, for example.
‘If you know you’re going to be moving house, it’s wise to check what services are available at your new home.
‘You might find a more reliable or better value service is available – or, if you’re happy with your current provider, you might want to take them with you.
‘It’s worth noting that if you do this, rather than it being a continuation, you’ll be starting a whole new contract from scratch. Whichever option you choose, it’s wise to check the T&Cs of your current broadband service and let them know as soon as you can that you’re moving.
‘If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of moving home and being offline as you wait for your new broadband connection, there are interim measures you can take. You might want to consider buying a dongle or connecting to a mobile hotspot, but these should only be treated as short term solutions as they can cost you extra.’
How to complain if you’re broadband stops working
If you find yourself in a broadband blackout don’t just settle for an alternative as you may be due compensation.
The amount you get depends on a few things such as how frequently the service is going down and for how long, but your first port of call should be to contact your provider.
Tell it what has happened and ask for a refund for any costs you’ve had to make – such as the cost of buying a dongle or additional data on your phone. There’s no guarantee it’ll pay out for these but it’s worth asking.
If it refuses you can then make an official complaint through its complaints procedure.
It then has eight weeks in which to respond to this. Another route you could take is using social media feeds to contact your provider – although there are no guarantees this will help, we have seen success stories here and it is usually a good way to get your provider’s attention.
If after the eight weeks you still haven’t got a response you can escalate the problem to the Ombudsman.
Alternatively, if you’re outside of your minimum contract period it might be worth switching to a different provider. Not only could this improve your service, you may be able to save money as most of the best deals are reserved for new customers.
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