Citizens Advice survey highlights broadband issues when moving
Citizens Advice in partnership with YouGov carried out a survey of those on the larger YouGov panel who had moved home in the last two years to learn what issues are cropping up.
- 15% had slow or unreliable connections when 'initiated'
- 11% had to have multiple engineer visits to get it up and running
- 9% had appointments rescheduled
- 8% received a router that did not work properly
- 5% did not receive a router at all
People paying to have their broadband set-up all too often face big set-backs.
Moving house can be a difficult and stressful experience and delays in getting the internet can make this worse, if providers fail to keep to promised dates or engineering visits don’t materialise. Broadband is now such an essential service that people moving house will often rely on it for crucial tasks, like changing their address for household bills or ordering essentials.
It is fundamentally unfair that in some cases customers are paying for a service they don’t receive for weeks or even months at a time after moving. Ofcom has rightly proposed a scheme that would automatically compensate customers who face delays or missed appointments, regardless of their provider - but this is now at risk of being watered down by a rival industry proposal that would be voluntary and lower the amount paid out by at least £52 million.
To hold providers to account for breaking promises to their customers, the regulator should move forward with its mandatory automatic compensation scheme. This would make it clear to people what they are entitled to when they get poor service and put an end to customers having to negotiate how much they get back for their wasted time.Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice
The difference in the compensation from the industry proposal and what Ofcom are suggesting should be no surprise and we would be more worried if the broadband industry en-masse just rolled over and accepted an Ofcom proposal without at least a counter offer. In this case the counter offer means the public would get less compensation e.g. £4/day for delayed activations versus £6/day but we are pretty sure that most people would rather have the broadband up and running rather than any compensation.
It would be interesting to be able to sift through the full responses and also see the split between people moving into a new build versus properties that already had active broadband in them. New build homes generally are likely to be worse overall as issues arise over addresses not matching in databases etc through to for full fibre premises the need to get the final few feet of fibre installed. Another area would be what variation there was between technologies and providers, e.g. is one retailer consistently failing to send out the correct hardware.
As full fibre roll-outs by Gigaclear, Openreach and others increase the fact that some large household name providers do not sell the services will also become a source of confusion and frustration, e.g. if you are a Sky VDSL2 customer in contract should you be forced to pay an early contract termination fee if you move to a GEA-FTTP area, if ADSL2+ is available its likely Sky would set you up on that, but not all GEA-FTTP have the copper overlay to offer ADSL2+.
One area raised by the survey is the plight of those who move and after more than 14 days the service is not up and running and thus they try to cancel the service and a provider insists that early contract termination fees apply. While we cannot make legal advice it would seem sensible to most people that if a supplier has failed to supply goods at all then the termination fees should not apply, in cases where service did work though perhaps slowly or intermittently then it becomes a battle of whether you've given a provider a reasonable chance to resolve the problem.
For those who have moved into a new property and find their broadband (specifically ADSL2+/VDSL2/FTTC services) is slow or drops out then its a case of checking the telephone wiring, new build properties are notorious for dodgy extension wiring and in older properties there may be a legacy of decades of DIY extensions causing issues, in which case testing the connection using the test socket (which should disable all phone extensions) is a good start, discussed along with other things like faceplates in our ordering and installation FAQ.
If broadband is crucial in terms of banking or home working then given the costs when buying a home, adding extra data allowance to a mobile phone for tethering is one of the smallest costs but will ensure you can stay online. For those who are moving between rented accommodation the finances can be tighter since you probably are having to shell out a new deposit before the previous has been returned, but still making sure you have some spare mobile allowance is worthwhile so you can tether your laptop and access the various web portals for banking and other utilities.