New research from UK consumer body Which? finds that nine in 10 people think a broadband connection is essential to their everyday life alongside other essentials such as food, housing and utilities such as water and energy.
The results, taken from a representative survey of over 2,000 people, revealed that housing, energy, food and running water were the only services that people ranked as more essential than broadband.
The proportion of people who thought that broadband was essential (90 per cent) was higher than it was for having a mobile phone (74 per cent), a TV (73 per cent) or running a car (68 per cent). More also considered broadband an essential than they did savings (70 per cent) and pension contributions (53 per cent).
Despite the importance of broadband, two-thirds (68 per cent) have experienced a problem with their broadband in the last 12 months. Main issues cited included slower speeds than usual for a few minutes/up to a day (36 per cent), intermittent connection drop-outs (35 per cent) and slower speeds for a day or more (25 per cent).
Worryingly the research revealed that, at the time of the survey, three in 10 were getting download speeds below 10MB per second. This is the speed that Government has identified to meet the demands of a typical family and small businesses for their daily use and has promised to introduce by the end of this Parliament.
The Government is giving everyone a legal right to request a minimum download speed of 10MB per second in the Digital Economy Bill. Which? is pressing for the Government to make the process of requesting the USO as consumer friendly as possible in order to ensure that as many people as possible apply for the scheme.
Which? also wants the Government to press ahead with its plans for automatic compensation when people’s broadband speed dips below expected levels, or drops out entirely. Broadband providers should also do more to deliver the significant improvements needed to give us all faster and more reliable connections.
“This research underlines again just how important broadband is to our everyday lives,” advised Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home and Legal Services. “Yet many of us are still experiencing persistent service interruptions and a large proportion of the population can’t access usable speeds to carry out the most basic tasks.”
“The government must urgently press ahead with its reforms to give us the faster and more reliable broadband connections we all need.”
Source: Advanced Television