Decline in satisfaction with broadband speeds
Irish broadband is still stuck in the slow lane, while many consumers are in the dark over whether they are getting the speeds they are actually paying for, according to new research from independent and impartial price comparison website Switcher.ie.
Despite the Government making a concerted effort through the National Broadband Plan to get Ireland up-to-speed, a third of broadband customers (34%) still say they have speeds of less than or equal to 30Mbps – the minimum target set out in the plan. In fact, one in 10 (8%) claim to have speeds of less than 3Mbps, which is not even fast enough to watch Netflix in SD, while a further 8% claim to have speeds of 7 or 8Mbps, meaning it would take well over an hour to download a HD movie.
In an increasingly digital world broadband customers are starting to feel fed up, with the findings revealing a decline in satisfaction with home broadband speeds. Little over four in 10 consumers (44%) are happy with their home broadband speed, down from 51% last year, while the average speed people say they’ve got has dropped from 82Mbps to 68Mbps.
Despite consumers’ growing reliance on broadband and the constant need to be connected, only 41% of broadband customers have taken the time to run a free speed test on their home broadband. But perhaps more should as, worryingly, only 8% of people have checked speeds and found they are getting the speed they’re paying for. In fact, a third of people have tested their home broadband speed (33%) and are being let down, either always or sometimes getting a lower speed than what they pay for.
And, in spite of the prominent national discourse on broadband speeds, it seems that most Irish broadband customers are in the dark about their broadband speed. This means that many are potentially leaving themselves open to getting poor value for money as, the higher the speed you have signed up for, the higher the cost of your broadband.
A substantial four in 10 broadband customers (39%) don’t even know what speed they’re signed up to, while 42% simply assume they are getting what they’ve paid for. And, while 17% suspect they are getting a lower speed than they should, they have not taken any action to prove it one way or another.
Broadband speed can be affected by a number of factors, including the type of connection being used and where you live. At the same time consumers need to be aware that providers advertise their maximum available speed – despite paying for this there’s no guarantee that you will actually get it so you should get into the habit of running regular free speed checks at different times of the day.
Eoin Clarke, Managing Director of Switcher.ie, said: “Despite all of the talk about addressing the issue of sluggish broadband across the country, Irish broadband is still stuck in the slow lane. In an increasingly digital world, broadband is now considered a household essential, alongside energy, so it’s very disappointing to see a drop in the average speed people say they’ve got in the home, and a corresponding decline in customer satisfaction.
“More worrying still is that our research shows that many are paying for speeds they are not actually getting, while six in ten consumers are leaving themselves in the dark because they have never carried out a broadband speed test at home. Checking your broadband speed regularly is simple, quick and free, but is a really important step towards making sure you are getting what you pay for. It will also help you to identify any specific issues affecting your home broadband speed – such as a dip in speed at certain times of the day or with specific devices.
“If you are not getting the speed you are paying for, you should contact your provider as they may be able to help, by either advising you on ways to optimise your speeds, or replacing your modem. If you’re still not happy, it might be time to shop around for another provider who can deliver the broadband speed you need.”