Loss of broadband hit 15million homes during Covid pandemic

Loss of broadband hit 15million homes during Covid pandemic as outages soared to three times higher than previous year, research shows

  • 15 million homes had a broadband outage, three times higher than previous year
  • Broadband issues are estimated to have cost UK almost £5 billion in lost work 
  • Edinburgh UK’s outage capital, with 175 hours lost compared to 25 from last year

Nearly 15 million homes in Britain have been hit by a broadband outage lasting three hours or more during the pandemic, a survey has found.

The figure is three times higher than the previous year, according to research by Uswitch.com. With much of the adult population working from home while also trying to keep children learning online, many have had to use mobile data instead.

Broadband issues are estimated to have cost the UK almost £5 billion in lost work time as a result.

Uswitch.com estimated the UK had lost 16 million working days due to the outages, particularly with millions relying on it to do their jobs

But the survey of 4,000 adults found that only a quarter of those affected complained to their provider about it.

Edinburgh was the UK’s outage capital, with a reported average downtime of 175 hours compared to 25 hours the previous year. Residents of Belfast suffered the shortest amount of downtime (11 hours).

Bristol was second hardest hit, with 109.3 hours of downtime – though this was a significant improvement from the previous year’s total of 169 hours.

Leeds, Sheffield, and Brighton followed with 109.3, 96.5 and 75.3 hours of downtime respectively.

More than a third (36 per cent) turned to their mobile data to stay online – but two thirds of those who did so said they used up their entire monthly allowance as a result.

Uswitch.com estimated the UK had lost 16 million working days due to the outages, particularly with millions relying on it to do their jobs.

Despite the inconvenience however, only a third of respondents said they were tempted to switch providers because of it.

Ernest Doku, Uswitch.com broadband expert, said: ‘Outages have affected the country like never before over the past 12 months, with three times as many people complaining of a lost connection than in the previous year.’

‘The first thing to do if you think you’re suffering an outage is to check whether it’s a problem with your router, which can often be fixed with a simple reset.

‘If it’s clear that the issues are beyond your control, contact your provider and they will be able to inform you of any problems in your area and, hopefully, an estimated time for a resolution.

‘If your connection goes down for more than two days you could be entitled to compensation of just over £8 a day. Most of the UK’s big broadband providers are signed up to Ofcom’s auto-compensation scheme, so you should be covered. These rules were relaxed during the pandemic as providers focused on keeping the country running, but from July the scheme will be up and running again.

Uswitch.com estimated the UK had lost 16 million working days due to the outages, particularly with millions relying on it to do their jobs

‘If you’re experiencing repeated issues or you’re not happy with your suppliers’ response, do a comparison online and see what alternatives are available in your area.’

A survey by USwitch.com last month found that people moving home are forced to wait more than eight days on average for their broadband connection to be up and running.

Yet nearly half received no extra help when asking their provider to speed up the process, with rural residents twice as likely to be left unassisted.

Delays are also subject to a postcode lottery – with a wait of 15 days for residents in Bristol three times as long as those in Brighton 150 miles away.

Ofcom has previously warned that the lockdown had ‘only served to intensify the digital divide’ for many from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Around 1.5million households do not even have internet while and estimated 400,000 schoolchildren do not have access to a device to work on at home.

Source: Read Full Article