Yougov survey and difficult of judging whether broadband is better or worse
The newspaper headlines scream broadband was worse for a third of households during lockdown, but judging what is better or worse is very difficult. Why?
Well for one as the survey suggests people were online a lot more (73% of respondents) and that means the possibility fo spotting random drop-outs is much higher. Additionally lots of people have probably brought a laptop home from work to work from and many recent ones do not have Ethernet and so they may have traded a reliable corporate wi-fi network for unreliable home wi-fi with congestion in the airwaves as neighbours networks overlap. Other issues people might be attributing to the internet/broadband when answering these surveys is problems with online shopping e.g. supermarket sites being inaccessible or site load causing a shopping basket to fail.
The minimum figure for people saying it was worse during lockdown should be 22%, because this is the proportion of the online households using Virgin Media who suffered the blackouts on 28th April that went on for periods of 5 to 15 minutes over the course of a few hours. This was an exceptional event and would have made headlines even without the pandemic, but there has been no indication that the issue was load related i.e. one of those fortunately rare but major incidents that happen. Our own watching for dips in performance has been heightened, i.e. whereas we would wait for two or three alerts over a number of hours we have tended to highlight possible slowdowns on the first internal alert.
One and it is a sample of one, but no doubt others will know someone similar is a poster on our forums who thought based on their previous usage they would be OK during lockdown with their ADSL/ADSL2+ and its speeds around 4 to 5 Mbps (multiple people in household). Safe to say their broadband experience during lockdown will not have been good if they all tried to work or zoom video call at the same time, the irony VDSL2 was previously available though at only around 15 Mbps speeds and there is a also a full fibre option.
We have hunted for a link to the YouGov survey but cannot see an article on the YouGov website yet.
ISPA sent across a statement on Thursday i.e. they had seen an embargoed copy of the survey.
As indicated by the survey results there has been a significant increase in broadband usage in households during the lockdown with the UK's workforce logging on from home and friends and family keeping in touch only virtually. However, despite this large increase in usage, the network has proved to be resilient and continues to provide vital support for the public through this difficult period.
The performance of the network itself has a vital but not exclusive impact on the user experience – in-home devices, the number of users, corporate IT set-ups and capacity constraints within online services (e.g. video-apps) can play an equally significant role. However, there are several steps that users can take to improve performance - Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, has published a useful guide on this.Till Sommer, Head of Policy of the Internet Services Providers’ Association
No doubt there was people with genuine problems, but all the data suggests a possible 2 to 3% decline overall i.e. nothing significant compared to the disruption that has gone in other parts of our lives. Obviously there will be individuals with problems e.g. broadband has totally broken but that happens anyway, of course without the usual home worker backup option of the local coffee shop this becomes a bigger issue and with the problems of getting through to support the level of annoyance will have quickly grown.
If you are reading this at while on a break from work, best advice - plug everything into your broadband via Ethernet and if on an important zoom call turning off the Wi-Fi will help stop someone else in the house causing a blip and a drop of your call. The scope for others activity impacting your own decreases as your broadband speeds increase, but download services such as Steam can cause problems even if you have a connection of a few hundred Mega bits per second and let if download at full speed.
Also now that installs are getting back to approaching normal with additional social distancing measures for safety the next few months are the time to check our what better broadband options you have are and our package search will show the majority of options. We work hard to make the filtering as good as we can and one of those things means we don't offer packages that you cannot buy.