33% of UK suffered poor connection during lockdown

A new survey says a third of us have suffered from unreliable internet during the pandemic.

a man looking angry while holding a laptop against a red wall

Tuesday, 11 August, 2020


Broadband is a lifeline during lockdown, but some of us are being left adrift! Last week a study from Quadient found that 33% of Britons suffered from poor connection during lockdown.

On behalf of Quadient, Opinium surveyed 2000 UK adults about their experience with broadband during the COVID-19 crisis. A whopping third of those asked said that they suffered from ‘a bad internet connection’.

This Summer, many of the big ISP’s suffered from technical issues, with Virgin Media customers facing total blackouts. So perhaps we spoke too soon when stories of the existing network infrastructure holding up under increased lockdown traffic.

The survey also found that we have been spending 7 hours and 18 minutes a day online. Sounds surprising! It feels like some of us have been spending 25 hours a day online during lockdown!

Imagine having a bad internet connection for 7 hours a day! Well, unfortunately some of you won’t have to imagine, sorry!

One limitation of the survey is that it doesn’t identify what causes this ‘bad internet connection’. So it could be service outages, faulty routers, or just an ill suited package for the needs of the user.

Switch up.

The study also found that a third of UK broadband customers switched providers in the last year, or were ‘planning to’. Around 80% of us also stated that they feel confident they could switch, and that it’s easy to do so. This was versus only 11% of those surveyed who are only with their ISP because they think switching is hard.

This sounds like Ofcom’s consumer fairness warnings are being followed. Earlier this year, the industry regulator made recommendations for consumer fairness. These recommendations included making it easier for consumers to switch, transparent pricing and simpler T&Cs.

Domino effect.

Almost 9 million households around the UK suffered issues with their broadband during lockdown. This doesn’t just affect binge watching and gaming. Many vulnerable people who are shielding have been relying on shopping online to get food and basics.

Poor broadband can also isolate people living alone and relying on the internet to contact loved ones. It’s undeniable that reliable broadband has become essential for life under lockdown.

This is why customer service is essential for ISP’s at the moment. Not only to mitigate a service outage, but to act as a lifeline for the many people dependent on broadband.

Natalie Dunning author picture


Natalie Dunning is a freelance writer and Media Psychology researcher based in Manchester.