UK's superfast broadband perceived as unfairly allocated, underperforming and unavailable


Despite the UK Government making significant improvements to national broadband speeds, service quality and coverage, with a commitment to provide superfast broadband to 90 percent of the population by December 2016, British consumers do not believe the Government is doing enough, according to an independent survey commissioned by ViaSat Inc., the global broadband services and technology company.

Conducted by TNS on 2,012 GB adults aged 16-64, the survey found:

  • 72 percent of British consumers don’t believe the Government is doing enough to meet future broadband needs

  • Consumers believe modern broadband speeds should be, on average, at least 60Mbps – 6 times the proposed minimum speed of the Government’s Universal Service Obligation (10Mbps) and 2.5 times faster than the Government’s superfast broadband commitment (24Mbps)

  • Fewer than half (48 percent) of respondents believe that they can access superfast broadband (24Mbps) in their area

  • Consumers see their data needs increasing by 2.4 times over the next two years

“Despite the Government’s best efforts to roll-out superfast broadband across the UK, it still has an uphill perception battle to fight,” said Neil Fraser, head of space and comms, ViaSat UK. “The work of the Government and other organisations is not being recognised by the consumer. According to the survey, British consumers see themselves as a nation that is disconnected, which is in stark contrast to the Government’s own statistics showing the vast majority have access to superfast services today. This failure to deliver in the eyes of the British public comes at a time when British broadband has been under scrutiny; Ofcom just completed its review of Openreach, and 100,000 UK citizens voiced their opinions on the nation’s broadband initiatives via the ‘Fix Britain’s Internet’ campaign. This is all the reason for the UK Government to show not only if and how they are reaching 90% of the population today, but even more importantly how they plan to reach 100% of the nation in the future.”

In addition to being unaware of the country’s current access to superfast broadband, the survey shows the majority of GB consumers believe superfast broadband is being used to benefit London and the South-East, rather than the whole nation.

  • Overwhelmingly, respondents believe superfast broadband is disproportionately focused on London and the South East (77 percent); among respondents in the north of England and Scotland, that rises to 85 percent and 87 percent, respectively

  • 66 percent of respondents believe London has the fastest broadband in Great Britain; the next closest region is the South-East (9 percent), whereas in 2016, areas such as Middlesbrough, Belfast, Brighton and Nottingham have reported faster average download speeds

  • 79 percent would accept disruption to their home in order to get faster broadband

Fraser continued: “The survey highlights the average consumer believes rural areas will always take a backseat to busy cities and towns. However, consumers clearly recognise internet connectivity as critical to the economy. Nearly 80 percent of respondents said they would accept disruption to their home in order to get faster broadband; which would ultimately aid education, business and drive new investments in traditionally unsupported regions. This disruption doesn’t have to mean digging trenches and waiting months for construction to be scheduled and completed. Technologies including satellite broadband are now increasingly capable of offering the speed and coverage that the UK needs, both now and in the future. This means that the UK Government can meet the demands of the population head-on, and demonstrate that it is dedicated to bringing a truly democratic internet.”


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