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78% of broadband users say broadband hasn't improved in the last year
Tuesday 19 April 2011 11:53:55 by John Hunt

Three quarters of broadband users feel that their service has not improved over the last 12 months according to a survey we carried out of over 1,200 users. Only 21% of users believed their broadband service improved.

The survey also asked users what their biggest broadband complaint was, and there was dominating trend toward broadband speeds. Around a quarter of those questioned felt that they could not receive the broadband speeds that they had been promised and about the same again were frustrated that they couldn't get access to fast broadband. Others had broadband gripes where broadband congestion and fair usage policies or limits were an issue. The cost of broadband was the biggest complaint in only 5% of those questioned.

"The vast majority of users do not seem to think that their broadband experience has improved in the past year, which is not painting a good picture of Broadband Britain.

Broadband speeds continue to be the biggest source of frustration for many users. We can only hope that with the latest announcements on increased fibre rollout by various telecommunications providers, the next few years will see a dramatic improvement on broadband speeds."

Sebastien Lahtinen, (co-founder)

The full results of the poll we carried out with 1235 respondents can be found below.

Over the last year, what has been your biggest broadband problem?
I don't get the promised speed 23.8%
I can't get fast broadband 22.9%
Slow at peak times 17.2%
My broadband is unreliable 10.1%
Usage limits/policies 8.3%
Struggle to get problems fixed 6.7%
Other problems 5.9%
It's too expensive 5.1%

Is your broadband experience better now than it was 12 months ago?
It's about the same 39.2%
No - it's got worse 39.0%
Yes - it's improved 21.2%
I didn't have broadband last year 0.6%


Posted by monkeyarms over 6 years ago
Near pointless poll, no option for "i have no problem" and is 1235 really representative of the number of BB users in the UK? "the vast majority of users..." really, or just poll responders?
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
interesting poll result.
Posted by Alchemyfire over 6 years ago
Well, in the village I live in, broadband hasn't improved since 2006
Posted by NilSatisOptimum over 6 years ago
1st post is pointless! I have no problem however might as well be still 2006 regarding my broadband connection!
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
So 23.8% of visitors to this site don't understand what 'up to' means? Or is that the same thing as 'slow at peak times'?

Interesting that price is so low. Is that because it's reached levels that even a church mouse would be happy with or does it indicate that providers can get away with price rises finally?
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
Stats is always fun, based on what criteria you decide you can or what questions you want answered you can skew the results.

Take the simple values from fat content and apply them how you wish gives the best idea of how you can tweak things.
Many "low fat" products, e.g. biscuits, state 95% fat free. Which sounds great. However, if you apply the same to "nasty horrible" full fat milk which is 4% fat, "96% fat free" suddenly it's better than many low fat products.
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
Fair point - the headline could just as easily read "60% of broadband users say broadband has improved or stayed the same in the last year". Or "90% of broadband users think their service is reliable".

Amazing that 5.1% of people still mention price when you can get broadband for as little as £3.49 a month, difficult to see it getting much cheaper than that!
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
How many people are paying more for their service than they were a year ago I wonder?

How many less, and how many the same?
Posted by darren_mccoy over 6 years ago
No broadband improvement in the last 6 years :(
Posted by awoodland over 6 years ago
I voted for "Yes - it's improved", because I migrated to AAISP this year and the difference compared to "race to the bottom" ISPs (one of which, not through choice I was previously a customer) is substantial.
Posted by bsdnazz over 6 years ago
My broadband has not got much faster in the 4 years it's been installed. Going to ADSL2+ gained a little but until FTTC arrives (assuming my cabinet gets it) why would I expect any improvements in broadband speed?

My speed (approx 3.5Mb/s) is limited by the line to the exchange and FTTC aside I don't see any reason why that might change.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Poll fail.

It doesn't take into account these factors:

-Some are ignorant of faster services.
-Some haven't optimized their wiring.
-Majority haven't optimized their service (hacked router, DMT Tool or an optimized SNRM profile).
-Some are with a useless/bad ISP.
-Reliability may well be down to the users side of the line or scheduled (with notice) work is taking place or related to previous factor.


What is your downstream attenuation?
Posted by Saurus over 6 years ago
Isn't it about time the ISP's were only paid the percentage the custmer gets of the up to speed of any connection, i.e. if it's supposed to be 8mb and you only get 5mb then we only pay for the percentage we get?
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
Unless you've been missold, its supposed to be "up to" 8Mbps or whatever, so you are paying for what you get.
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 6 years ago
if you go down that route then they may as well also charge your line rental depending on how long your line is. great if you live close to the out in the sticks it could get pricey.
Posted by adslmax over 6 years ago
The poll mean nothing really. Waste of time.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 6 years ago
It is time the Up To was stopped in my view it is at the very least misleading and could be miss selling.
Lets give an example. You are looking to buy a car. The specification says it goes up to 120mph.

What wouldd you expect? I would say you would expect it could reach a 120mph and not that it may reach a 120mph so why should the Intenet be any different.
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago

The problem with your analogy is that the car will do 120 mph... however the network (road network)is managed @30mph at peak times (urban areas), @50 mph for less contended areas (e.g. dual carriage ways) and @70mph for off peak (motorways)... however you can by pass this managed speed and do 120 mph. However the regulators (the rozzers) may stop you and cancel your connection (license)...
Posted by Northwind over 6 years ago
Bob_s2: think of your connection more of a road than a car. In theory a car could travel at 60 mph on a single-lane carriageway but traffic, weather conditions and burning scrapyards will affect it progress.

Notice how road speed limit signs are "up to" rather than "guaranteed"?
Posted by Northwind over 6 years ago
Dixinormous: I'd say a considerable proportion of people are paying more now.

On top of VAT increase, my ISP for one slipped-in further increases in prices for no benefit to me.

Since my salary didn't increase this year, I am worse off as a result.
Posted by ssanyal over 6 years ago
Interesting poll. A distribution of results across a larger sample size & spread between various providers would have been interesting. IMHO, we'll never see 'guaranteed' consumer broadband speeds unless ISPs get rid of contention ratios. As long as the service is contended, it will always be an 'up to' speed. Limited network capacity is a direct cause of this. You can promise what you want, but if you don't have the capacity to supply the committed bandwidth, you will have to 'qualify' the bandwidth you provide. With increased use of DPI & throttling, things look gloomy from my perspective.
Posted by jimmyroamer over 6 years ago
The results of this survey are probably pretty accurate. My broadband still suffers from all the problems today that I had 4 years ago. Even accepting it is an "upto" service I do get stroppy when my speed goes from 4.5mbps at 3PM to 0.4mbps at 7PM. That is the real rip off and OFCOM never takes them to task on this.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 6 years ago
Upto means upto it does not mean you cannot attain it. If a car was sold saying it could go upto 60mph and it did not then it braks consumer law.

If an ISP sels a product that says upto 15Mbs then any user should expect to get upto 15MBS. That does not mean they will consistantly get that speed but that it shouuld be capable of reaching it

Currently ISP's sell products knowing full well that the average user will never be able to get that speed.

At the very list it should be worded "that a few users may get 15Mbs but most users will get very considerably less then that"
Posted by Fellwalker over 6 years ago
WHy would your broadband improve unless you change to a different service, in which case it has not imporved, it has changed. Daft poll.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 6 years ago
I think the Pol was to see if the rollout of faster services was as great as some companies where claiming clearly it implies that we are still falling behind the rest of the world with regard to faster Broadband

The reality is most users are still only getting 2Mbs to 4Mbs
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
IIRC from the most recent Ofcom report, the average fixed line broadband speed is now a little over 6Mbps? On 3G it is rather lower at just over 1Mbps.

Average fixed line broadband speeds seem to be rising reasonably well - approx 1Mbps over each of the last two years - which suggests an increasing take up of the faster cable speeds as well as FTTC.
Posted by carennydd over 6 years ago
Thinkbroadband could help greatly by providing a much more extensive list of ISPs.

We can't expect more than about 6 Mbps in the rural backwater where I live and thinkbroadband's map suggests that typical speeds are actually around 2 Mbps or lower. Fifteen months ago I was getting well below even that rate, but since I switched to a small but conscientious ISP who never throttle speeds (ICUK) my average has risen to around 5.5 and virtually never below 4. But if you rely on thinkbroadband and their award-winning ISPs you'll never find ICUK or similar high-quality providers.
Posted by michaels_perry over 6 years ago
Our rural broadband has got worse in the last year, not better. It's supposed to be 'up to' 8 Mbps but we used f=to get around 2.5 Mbps. Now we get 2 Mpbs and it's even more unreliable than ever. Part of the problem is the overhead BT copper but VM don't realise that is the source of the reliability, attentuation and noise problems - they are in 'cable think' mode and always think the problem is at the backbone side - it isn't but they refuse to accept that and the 'technicians' on Support are useless IMHO.
Posted by andymacp over 6 years ago
AndyMacP, I personally have practically doubled my speed by simply changing ISPs.With BT I seldom attained 4.9.Changing to TalkTalk and with the great help from the users forum I am consistently attaining 7.1.I am 0.68 of a mile from the exchange and live in rural Northeast Scotland.I read a lot of negative reports daily about TalkTalk,my experience with them has been trouble free.I have never had a disconnection and the support from them has been excellent.People who constantly complain baffle me.Do a bit of research and drop expensive ISPs.
Posted by nicksunnar over 6 years ago
Totally agree that Thinkbroadband (TBB)should provide a more extensive list of ISP's to include smaller independents.

As an independent ISP, Communic8 ( offers Business & Rural Broadband Solutions utilising Wireless Technology via our Independent Trunk Radio Network across the South East of England.
Surely by creating a more extensive ISP list and including the smaller independents, you will ultimately be providing your readers with a much better choice of providers, surely this can only benefit the readers.
Posted by jtevans over 6 years ago
Up to 8Mbps is the link connection speed. With overheads of ATM cells, PPP, IP and TCP you can _never_ get more than about 6.3Mbps on a speed tester. That is my main gripe about the "up to advertising".

If you don't change technology, ISP, or your address why would the service improve unless your ISP was way over contented?
Posted by Davetea over 6 years ago
My service hasn't improved in 5 years. I use Be now and they've just doubled my monthly fee with a promise of an increase from 8 service to 12, but my speeds have DROPPED from c6.2 to c4.5 (I'm 1.5 miles from my exchange). People talk of the copper in the ground, but what a lot of people don't know is that in BT's 'wisdom',years ago when copper prices were soaring, BT used aluminum alloy instead. Not only is it a poorer conductor, but they made it thinner too. BT will NEVER replace ally cable with copper, and now that fibre is going in, not even then, so some of us, me included are stuffed.
Posted by Bowlsman41 over 5 years ago
I have been a member with Talk Talk for the last 2 and a half years when I started the speed was between 3 and 4.5 Mb now today my speed is 8.5 MB to 9.3 so I feel that this is an improvementKeep up the good work Talk Talk
Posted by AspieMum over 5 years ago
'Posted by Bob_s2 11 days ago
The reality is most users are still only getting 2Mbs to 4Mbs'
I can't even get 2MBs. I would like to be able to get about 5 to 8 MB without paying for expensive fibre broadband- however even the fibre option is not available here anyway. We're on too rural an exchange for companies to bother adding fibre or other upgrades and too close to cities to be likely to be covered by any initiatives to help rural folk- and our exchange is even closer to our nearest city.
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