Flaky, unreliable broadband? You’re certainly not alone in the UK

Broadband in the UK simply isn’t reliable, and according to a fresh piece of research, more than eight out of 10 broadband users have experienced some manner of reliability issues during the past year.

To be precise, the survey by uSwitch.com found that 83% of Brits had experienced broadband reliability bugbears, including their connection going down or suffering from very slow speeds when it comes to downloads and/or browsing (and being hit by buffering when streaming video or music).

So, that’s a fairly broad canvas in terms of defining reliability, but it’s still a worryingly high percentage of us who've experienced such gremlins. Indeed, if the 2,000 surveyed folks are representative of the national population, that's around 43 million UK adults who've been affected by such issues.

The biggest problem people face, according to the research, is slow-loading web pages, which 71% complained about. Meanwhile 63% said they'd been hampered by buffering when streaming media.

But the most worrying figure is the 67% of those surveyed who said they'd been hit by their internet going down completely, which is clearly the reliability issue that’s going to have the biggest impact.


The survey also found that there's some confusion over terms relating to broadband, and while most consumers understand that fibre is faster than ‘standard’ (DSL) broadband, a quarter admitted that they didn’t have a clue which types of services would provide superfast speeds. And 30% of respondents didn’t know whether superfast broadband (defined as 24Mbps+) was available in their area.

Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband guru at uSwitch.com, said: “Broadband has long been a household essential but consumers are saying they’re still facing reliability issues.

“While not a magic bullet, superfast broadband – sometimes referred to as fibre or by a branded name – can significantly reduce speed and reliability issues. As it stands though, only 57% of consumers believe they can access superfast services in their area when in reality, 90% of premises should be able to access these speeds.”

This isn’t the first time serious flak has been aimed at the state of UK broadband this year, or indeed this month – as we discovered a couple of weeks back, we’re not faring well in terms of broadband speeds compared to the rest of Europe.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).