Broadband now seen as one of top five modern day essentials

New research from Which? finds that nine in 10 people think a broadband connection is essential to their everyday life alongside other essentials such as food, housing and utilities like water and energy.

The results, taken from a representative survey of over 2,000 people, revealed that housing, energy, food and running water were the only services that people ranked as more essential than broadband.

The proportion of people who thought that broadband was essential (90%) was higher than it was for having a mobile phone (74%), a TV (73%) or running a car (68%). More also considered broadband an essential than they did savings (70%) and pension contributions (53%).

Despite the importance of broadband, two-thirds (68%) have experienced a problem with their broadband in the last 12 months. Main issues cited included slower speeds than usual for a few minutes/up to a day (36%), intermittent connection drop-outs (35%) and slower speeds for a day or more (25%).

Worryingly the research revealed that, at the time of the survey, three in 10 were getting download speeds below 10MB per second. This is the speed that Government has identified to meet the demands of a typical family and small businesses for their daily use and has promised to introduce by the end of this Parliament.

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

Which? also wants the Government to press ahead with its plans for automatic compensation when people’s broadband speed dips below expected levels, or drops out entirely. Broadband providers should also do more to deliver the significant improvements needed to give us all faster and more reliable connections.

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.”

Notes to Editors

  1. Research: Populus on behalf of Which? conducted a nationally representative online survey of 2,107 households between 13th and 14th September 2016. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Those surveyed were asked how essential certain services are to their daily lives; had they experienced a problem with their broadband in the last year; average download speeds and other questions relating to how they engage with the internet.
    Broadband Speeds: One of the survey questions poll linked to a speed checker, and the respondents entered the result into the answer box.
    Essential Table
  2. Which? ‘Give Us Broadband Speed Guaranteed’ has over 100,000 supporters to date. For more information, visit:


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