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Broadband: set-up delays affecting one in three consumers

Citizens Advice says consumers are often left waiting for weeks

New research has found that more than one in three home-movers experience unexpected delays in the set-up of their broadband.

Some people also complained of unreliable connections and missed engineer appointments, according to research conducted by YouGov for Citizens Advice.

The survey of 2,009 individuals who had moved house in the past two years also included one person who had to wait five weeks for a new connection, and others who were told they’d face exit fees when they opted to switch to a different service because their wait was too long.

Broadband is a modern-day essential service, but Citizens Advice said that the survey revealed that people are ‘often left without a working internet connection for weeks’ after the date their provider had promised, noting that this can worsen some of the challenges of moving home – such as changing the address on household bills.

Want to assess the speed of your new connection? Use our free Speed Checker Tool to see whether you’re getting the speeds your provider has promised.

Broadband delays and missed appointments

As well as a third of consumers being left without a working connection, the survey revealed:

• 15% found their new connection was slow or unreliable
• 11% said engineers had to make multiple visits
• 9% had engineer appointments rescheduled
• 8% received a router that did not work properly
• 5% didn’t receive a router at all

If you’re unhappy with your broadband speed, you can also use our broadband complaint tool to quickly make a formal complaint to your provider.

If you’re experiencing other difficulties, such as a faulty router, use our consumer advice guides and letter templates for help complaining about your broadband service.

Automatic compensation proposed

Back in March, the communications regulator Ofcom put forward plans to automatically award compensation to consumers experiencing phone and internet outages. This would include customers facing set-up delays or missed appointments by engineers, as well as outages that aren’t resolved swiftly enough and would work similarly to schemes in the energy and water industries.

The automatic compensation would take the form of either a cash payment or a credit on a bill, and would mean customers wouldn’t have to go through claims processes which can be difficult and time consuming.

Ofcom estimates that as many as 2.6 million landline and broadband customers could share a payout of up to £185m in compensation each year as a result of the measures. The proposal is currently under review, with a decision due before the end of the year.

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