Millions of UK households are suffering with regular broadband blackout periods and experiencing slower speeds than they are paying for, new research suggests.
Getting back online and fixing the problem of broadband outages or very slow speeds takes an average of 7.5 hours per month.
Despite the high numbers of problems, very few people are complaining or receiving compensation from their broadband providers.
Cut off: 70 per cent of households experience three broadband blackouts a month
The research shows that 70 per cent of households are facing an average of three problems a month with their broadband, but for some this is far higher.
One in 10 households endure an average of 10 outages every month, according to the research from comparison website Comparethemarket. It asked 2,087 adults about their broadband experience during the past year.
Of those who had experienced problems, 43 per cent said they had lost money, 18 per cent said it had made it harder to communicate with friends and family, 17 per cent hadn’t been able to access key information, and 13 per cent had not been able to complete an important piece of work.
Every time a problem occurs, it takes an average time of 2.5 hours to get it fixed which means people are losing a day a month waiting for their broadband to be fixed.
Two thirds of those suffering broadband problems – both when their service is totally cut off and when it’s significantly slower – don’t complain to their supplier.
Around half of those who had made a complaint said it wasn’t handled well and 93 per cent said they had received no compensation after experiencing problems with their service.
Peter Earl, head of utilities at Comparethemarket, said: ‘These figures are pretty shocking. We all experience intermittent internet sometimes, but it seems that broadband breakdowns are increasingly becoming the norm, rather than the exception.
93 per cent said they had received no compensation after problems with their broadband
‘It is a great pity that most households appear to just suffer in silence. It may be that they feel their complaints won’t be adequately handled, or that it’s just a fact of life, but providers should do better, and people should expect an efficient, reliable service.
‘The key thing is to complain, request compensation where appropriate for the inconvenience caused and, critically, switch if the situation doesn’t improve. Switching broadband providers is still firmly in the minority and this needs to change.’
This research comes as new rules are introduced for how the speed of broadband can be advertised. From today, the speed used to advertise a broadband service must be accessible to at least 50 per cent of its customers.
Previously providers were allowed to advertise speeds as ‘up to’ a certain figure and only 10 per cent of customers had to get the top speed.
If you’re experiencing problems with your broadband provider, either because you’re not receiving the right speed, or something else is wrong, you don’t need to put up with it. Here we’ve outlined the main steps to correcting the problem and getting compensation if you have a problem.
1. Check your broadband speed and contract
If you’re having regular problems with the speed of your broadband, it’s much slower at certain times of the month, for example, the first thing you need to do is check the actual speed you’re receiving and make a note of this.
There are a number of free broadband speed tests, such as this one from Broadband Choices, where you can check your speed.
Compare this to the speed you’re meant to be getting on your broadband contract. If it is significantly different to the speed you’re regularly getting in your home, you can make a complaint to your broadband provider.
Keep an eye on outside factors, such as if your router or cables into your house are faulty. If you can’t see another problem, contact your provider.
2. Contact your broadband provider
Whatever the problem is – either you’re receiving continually slow speeds or outages or something else is wrong – you need to make an official complaint to your provider.
It will have a complaints process you’ll need to follow and remember to take a note of all verbal and written communication you have.
Using social media feeds can also help if you’re not getting a response from your provider, or it’s taking a long time to reply.
3. Try an alternative dispute resolution
If after eight weeks you’ve still not received a response, or you’re not happy with the response you have received, you can escalate the problem.
All broadband providers have to sign up to an alternative dispute resolution scheme with either CISAS or the Ombudsman Services: Communications.
It will look at your case independently and if it rules in your favour it could ask the broadband provider to pay you for any money you’ve lost.
It may also tell the provider to pay you for extra costs, such as time spent on the phone or money spent accessing the internet through alternative means such as with a dongle.
You may also be able to leave the contract early, without penalty, if you’ve been left without broadband for some time. This should be detailed in your contract but if not keep a note of how long your service has been down and include this with your complaint and request to be able to leave.
THIS IS MONEY’S FIVE OF THE BEST BROADBAND DEALS