Study shows Brits want reliable broadband, NOT speed

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Thursday, 1 August, 2019

New research shows that most Brits want reliability instead of speed when it comes to broadband, and 80 percent of us aren’t getting it.

Nominet, the organisation behind the .UK domain name registry, commissioned a study of over 2000 adults and 1000 children between the ages of 11 and 17 to find what really matters to broadband customers.

They found that 60 percent of adults wanted a reliable connection instead of fast broadband. Even more thought that nationwide broadband coverage was a higher priority than small areas of high speed internet.

Reaching broadband equality

The rollout of full-fibre broadband has been slow, and mostly contained to small urban areas. Many places in the UK are still struggling to get basic fibre broadband. 5G has also been contained to a few major cities around the UK, further widening the gap. As some people roll in the gigabits, most of us are still losing out.

Nominet show that 18 percent of Londoners are unsatisfied with broadband reliability – making it the least reliable area in the whole country. You may think London is always getting the best of new broadband, but this shows just how small-scale quality broadband really is.

Nominet’s CEO, Russel Haworth, stressed the importance of reliable broadband in our current times.

Whether it’s struggling to complete homework online, not being able to download critical documents for work or having an online payment cancelled or disrupted, the ramifications of a poor connection can stretch far into the future. If the UK is to have a vibrant digital future – not just in pockets, but across the whole country – we need to deliver on consistency and equality, and open up the way we build our digital infrastructure to new and independent players.

- Russell Haworth, CEO, Nominet

Many companies are moving towards flexible work environments and working from home is becoming an increasingly popular option.  However, only 48% of adults think that broadband would be reliable enough to let them work away from the office.

It’s a similar story when it comes to entertainment, with only 50% of people able to stream music without any difficulties. Video streaming isn’t much better, with only 57% able to watch movies and TV without any problems.

Is there a need for speed?

Seeing such a high need for reliable broadband is hardly surprising. Why worry about lightning speeds when you can’t even rely on your broadband for the basics?

The truth is speed and reliability come hand in hand. Faster connections are better connections, and better connections are reliable. It’s unfortunate that we have to pay for speeds we don’t need, just to get broadband we can depend on.

Communities cut off from quality broadband are only going to suffer more as the gap of broadband equality widens. Being stuck on bad broadband can affect work, entertainment, and even your social life.

Switching to fibre is the best way to get more reliable broadband. Coverage is improving all the time, so check what’s available in your area. You could get both speed and reliability with an upgrade to fibre.

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Samuel Newman is a consumer journalist and blogger based in Sheffield.