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Broadband outages triple in a year

Emma Lunn
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Emma Lunn

Almost 15 million consumers faced broadband downtime of three or more hours in the past year, three times higher than the previous 12 months.

Research by Uswitch found the average home affected by broadband outages was left offline for more than two days over the course of 12 months. It calculated that the UK lost 16 million working days in the past year to outages with broadband issues costing the economy almost £5bn in lost work time.

Uswitch found that Edinburgh is the UK’s outage capital, with residents suffering the longest time without broadband per person and losing nine million hours of broadband over the year. The news is a major turnaround from last year’s research, which found that the Scottish capital experienced some of the fewest outages in the UK.

Residents of Belfast suffered the shortest amount of downtime, with the city reporting only 11 hours of downtime in 12 months.

Despite the inconvenience, only four in 10 customers who experienced outages complained to their provider about the issue. However, more than a third (37%) of frustrated Brits are tempted to switch broadband providers because of the issue.

Ernest Doku, broadband expert at Uswitch.com, said: “Outages have affected the country like never before over the past 12 months, with three times as many people complaining of a lost connection than in the previous year.

“This report covers the first full year of lockdown measures, in which millions of homeworkers and home-schoolers have experienced internet outages when they would usually have been at their workplaces or in school.

“When you’re trying to get things done, not being able to stay connected can be infuriating, and made worse when a provider fails to communicate with their customers properly.”

What to do if you suffer a broadband outage

The first thing to do if you think you’re suffering an outage is to check whether it’s a problem with your router, which can often be fixed with a simple reset.

If it’s clear that the issues are beyond your control, contact your provider and it will be able to inform you of any problems in your area and, hopefully, an estimated time for a resolution.

If your connection goes down for more than two days you could be entitled to compensation of just over £8 a day. Most of the UK’s big broadband providers are signed up to Ofcom’s auto-compensation scheme, so you should be covered. These rules were relaxed during the pandemic as providers focused on keeping the country running, but the scheme is now up and running again.