Skip Navigation

New #fixbadbroadband campaign aims to shame providers into fixing broadband
Wednesday 05 April 2017 10:00:23 by Andrew Ferguson

Which? off the back of an appearance on The One Show on BBC1 has launched a #fixbadbroadband campaign, but it could just as easily be titled 'ensure you are on the best connection available to you and check your issues are not just Wi-Fi based' campaign.

The campaign has hit the ground running with the a nationally representative survey of 2,084 households conducted between 21st and 22nd December 2016, with the core question being 'Those surveyed were asked had they experienced a problem with their main home internet connection in the last 12 months; and if they had experienced a problem, how these experiences made them feel. Also a problem can range from 20 seconds of buffering during their favourite film through to being without broadband for weeks.

Based on that question and the various outages in core fibre networks (even full fibre operators have had issues too in the last 12 months) that have gone on during 2016, combined with the issues people have with the actual ADSL/VDSL2/cable/fibre segments of their connection it is surprising that the poll once extrapolated to the whole UK only had 12.5 million households frustrated with poor broadband.

"Which? research found that 16 million people – or six in 10 (59%) – experience​​d some kind of problem with their home internet connection in the last year with a huge 12.5 million – almost nine in 10 – frustrated as a result. Which? supporters said:

  • “I am unable to carry out my postgraduate research on the internet with such slow and inconsistent broadband speeds – it’s affecting my education”
  • “These days, broadband is as important as gas, water or electricity. Imagine only having 10% pressure on your water supply!”
  • “It is really frustrating waiting for a website to load or waiting for a film to stream. If a provider claims to have a certain broadband speed they should provide the service.”
Which? #fixbadbroadband Campaign

The press release extra above has some problems with its statistics, or at least confusing points that might end up being used to generate headlines and thus make things look worse than they are. Getting the basics right is important otherwise effort from the campaign will be wasted and dismissed by those with the power to change things, or worse effort will be made to appear to be listening and nothing concrete will happen down the line. So what is the problem? Well we have gone from a headline 12.5 million households that are frustrated, to 16 million people with a problem, and this switch of units from households to people is not clarified. Why is this important? Because the release has talks of 12.5 million households and 12.5 million people in different places, the numbers may be a coincidence but clarity from Which? is expected. Also there is a mathematics problem, 12.5 million of 16 million is actually 78% so more like 8 out of 10 rather than the 'almost nine out of 10'. Also they say '16 million people – or six in 10 (59%)' but the UK has a population of around 64 million, even if the 100% is people with broadband that figure would still be a lot higher.

We reported on the ratio of the different broadband technologies we saw in March on our speed test, which has over the years proved to be inline with the reported figures from the financial statements the PLC broadband providers release, and with 39% still using ADSL or ADSL2+ when 92.7% of UK premises have the option of a faster than 24 Mbps service it is clear that many will be missing out on things like better full fibre options, or cable broadband that does not suffer interference in the same way as ADSL services, and even though VDSL2/FTTC (partial fibre) is criticised the general experience is that it is more stable than the old ADSL/ADSL2+ services. We are fully aware that with 1 million premises still only able to get a sub 10 Mbps service there will be lots of people in those premises getting increasingly frustrated and while the figure is shrinking those that remain are feeling increasingly ignored.

If you want help to #fixbadbroadband and all the techie terms are confusing and your provider is no help, then register for our forums and ask your question.

To be more succinct, if the campaign is not to be easily countered by a BT spokesperson (other broadband operators are available and responsible) with the usual platitudes about 'fibre' and saying information is old and things are much better than portrayed more research needs to be done.


Posted by Blackmamba 24 days ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
The responsibility for the service is placed on the customers chosen ISP for costs and advertising to which the service is highlighted. I feel Openreach does not enter this contract (scenario).
Posted by WWWombat 23 days ago
@Andrew's reaction is right - that BT ought to be able to counter the focus of this campaign.

But what that really says is that the campaign is poorly targeted.

If people are encountering problems with their internet access (not their "broadband"), and are getting frustrated by it, we need to identify the source of frustration.

People travelling by rail are often frustrated by delays and cancellations. But what frustrates them most is not being given proper information about *why* and what is happening.
Posted by WWWombat 23 days ago
Perhaps we need better tools that help identify, to a technophobe user, where the problem lies, and to tie in information about what is happening.
Posted by CecilWard 23 days ago
> lots of people in those premises getting increasingly frustrated and while the figure is shrinking those that remain are feeling increasingly ignored.

Hit the nail on the head. Powerless and of no importance. < 3Mbps while there is talk of needlessly upgrading people from 50 Mbps to 300 Mbps.
Posted by comnut 23 days ago
the other problem is people who love 'big numbers' although they do not mean much... :/

I remember the old days of 14K dial-up, when I got a new 56k modem, it took years for 'other places' to upgrade theirs, until I could actually USE that speed...

similar situation now... :/
Posted by Blackmamba 23 days ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
It will be the (new Openreach staff 30K ) who will respond and get the up to date data on the Post Codes giving all ISP,s (500) the option to compete in today's market if they are unable they will go bust.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 23 days ago
@Blackmamba Openreach is not recruiting 30,000 new stuff - correcting this since people with less knowledge could be misled. The rest of your post I have no idea what you mean
Posted by jumpmum 23 days ago
The one show piece was extremely misleading with one person expecting everybody to be upgraded for free to the fastest broadband. Many of the people in the Welsh example could have 'brought' faster BB but chose not to. (According to TBB maps they have yet to get FTTC/P but can get more than the 2MB being claimed. Only 2 Post codes are below 10MB)
Posted by fastman 22 days ago
blackmamab a significant number of isp don't even consume GEA (fttc) and are only interesting in copper
Posted by comnut 22 days ago
note that many ISPs can only use BT lines... :/
Posted by comnut 22 days ago
If you have watched 'The one show' it is not exactly a tech show....

If users have found their way to this site, the should be able to find the user
forum for their own ISP... Even BT has one! :)

Just search 'internet help forum' ..
Posted by Tropi 19 days ago
I am afraid that my direct experience of Which Magazine is that it is as guilty as anyone for using inconsistent, confusing and misleading test methods and phrasing. It is one useful source of product information but is far from consistent and reliable. From personal experience, I NEVER trust their "Best Buys".
Posted by alexdow 12 days ago
Given "12.5 million households" and an average household being around 2.3 persons (2011 Census), then the number of people affected should surely be around 28.75 million.

More difficult to define if worked the other way, ie that 12.5 million persons is correct.

This could range from 12.5 M households, 1 person per household, down to about 5.43 M households, 2.3 persons per household; or even fewer.
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.