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Broadband more essential than savings or pension

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Society’s reliance on broadband now means it’s become an essential part of everyday lives, ranked more important than a savings buffer or retirement planning.

Nine in 10 people think a broadband connection is essential to their everyday life alongside other essentials such as food, housing, water and energy.

The survey of 2,000 people by campaign group Which? found the proportion of people who thought broadband was essential (90%) was higher than having a mobile phone (74%), a TV (73%) or running a car (68%).

Broadband is also considered more of an essential than savings (70%) and pension contributions (53%).

However despite many individual’s reliance on broadband, two-thirds have experienced a problem with their service in the past year, whether its slower speeds or intermittent connection drop-outs.

At the time of the survey, Which? found that three in 10 were getting download speeds below 10MB per second – the threshold speed identified by the government to meet the demands of a typical family and small business.

The government is giving everyone a legal right to request a minimum download speed of 10MB per second in the Digital Economy Bill and Which? is pressing for the government to make the process as consumer friendly as possible in order to ensure as many people as possible apply for the scheme.

It also wants to see automatic compensation when people’s broadband speed dips below expected levels, or drops out entirely.

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home and legal services, said: “This research underlines again just how important broadband is to our everyday lives. 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.”

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