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Which? Bad Broadband Campaign To Tackle Poor Connections

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Buffering hell. Which? campaign to help ‘millions of households’ suffering from poor broadband

The blight of poor broadband services has been highlighted in a new campaign launched by consumer group Which?

It cited the fact that a decent broadband connection is considered vital in today’s online world. Indeed, many regard Internet connectivity as the fourth vital utility service, behind water, electricity and gas.

But Which? said that 59 percent of households (roughly 16 million across the country) have experienced some form of problem with their home internet connection in the last year.

Broadband Problems

It also revealed three in ten of those affected household had said broadband problems made it much more difficult to pay bills online or to use online banking services.

Even worse, 19 percent even said that the problems had a negative financial impact on them.

So in an effort to help these households Which? has launched a new campaign to ‘Fix Bad Broadband’.

The campaign includes the development of a free broadband speed checker (available here), which the group is urging members of the public to use enable it to build a picture of the real speeds and problems people are experiencing across the country.

Another development has seen the creation of a  new broadband complaint tool (available here) to help customers quickly make a formal complaint to their Internet Service Provider about their line speeds.

Which? has also included practical advice on how to speed up slow connections and how to switch broadband providers.

“With millions of us frustrated by bad broadband and stopped from doing the simplest of online tasks, we have launched a new, free tool to help people improve their connection,” explained Which? MD of Home Services Alex Neill.

“There is nothing more annoying than your internet cutting out when you’re streaming your favourite programme, or when you’ve spent ages filling your online shopping basket but your connection is too slow to get you to the checkout,” said Neill. “Far too many people are experiencing problems with their broadband across the country and we want to help people to fix it.”

Other Measures

It should be noted that Which? is not alone is dealing with broadband problems. Last month for example Ofcom said it wanted wants landline and broadband service providers to provide automatic compensation for British customers when problems occur.

Ofcom said that the automatic compensation would apply to 7.2 million customers who experience service failings each year. Ofcom would require providers to pay automatic compensation (without the customer asking) for poor service, in the form of either a cash payment or a credit on a bill

BT, Sky and Virgin Media had jointly put forward a draft voluntary industry code of practice, but Ofcom did not consider their proposal sufficiently satisfy its concerns.

Plusnet was recently fined £880,000 for continuing to bill customers for broadband and landline services after they had cancelled their contracts.

Vodafone and EE have also felt Ofcom’s wrath in recent months, with both fined millions of pounds for overcharging.

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