“Shocking acceptance” of poor connectivity by the UK population

Research has shown that the UK falls behind 34 other countries in terms of strong broadband infrastructure and speeds, and has faced a number of obstacles in rolling out high-speed fibre optic services throughout the country.

However, one of Britain’s biggest faux pas is the way in which some of its largest service providers market and advertise their broadband speeds.

Principal consultant of policy at FarrPoint, an independent telecoms advisory firm, Darren Kilburn said: “The real problem, of which fibre advertising is but a part, is the shocking acceptance of the ‘less than’ service currently delivered by our broadband providers. This less speed, less reliability and less satisfaction approach to broadband services has a knock-on impact not only on businesses but also on social inclusion and wider economic development.”

A recent government-issued report stated that faster broadband connectivity impacted businesses positively, and even encouraged a £9 billion boost in economic activity as a result. Although this may be the case, if providers are failing to provide their marketed next-generation services by delivering on both affordable costs and speeds, businesses and individuals alike are likely to be faced with unachievable potential and goals.

“Customers are paying more to hit a higher minimum standard; standards that are advertised in the range at lower price points, but are not consistently met. This stymies innovation, it slows progress and it inflates the retail value of the service which maintains higher prices for lower grade services,” Kilburn continued.

Regulators like Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) are held responsible for the lack of transparency, and have been called upon to crackdown on the broadband speeds are advertised and how fibre has been explained to the public.

CEO and co-founder of Welsh ICE – a start-up community and innovation centre – Gareth Jones said: “More and more people choose to work from home, and more and more businesses in the information, creative and financial industries require the quickest and most stable connection […] It’s time we raised our expectations in the UK.”

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