Our research into the UK’s biggest TV and broadband providers has found that nearly two thirds of customers had experienced at least one problem with their service in the past year, with slow broadband speeds being the most common problem.
We surveyed more than 3,000 TV and broadband customers and found that, as well as slow speeds, sizeable proportions of customers had faced connection drop-outs, long outages and router issues.
To add insult to injury, some 30% of the TV and broadband customers we surveyed said the price of their deal had risen in the past year.
Don’t put up with a subpar provider – browse the best TV & broadband deals at Which? Switch to see what’s on offer.
Which TV and broadband customers have the most problems?
The majority of customers from each of the five major providers – BT, EE, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media – had experienced at least one issue. The most common overall were slow speeds, frequent connection drop-outs and router issues, each of which affected around one in five TV and broadband customers.
Sky was the worst for slow speeds, while TalkTalk and Virgin Media shared the top spot for frequent connection drop-outs. Virgin Media was also most prominent when it came to router issues, which affected just under one in four of its customers.
It was BT that did best overall – its TV and broadband customers were the most likely to say they hadn’t experienced any problem in the past year, with 35% saying their past year had been issue-free.
Meanwhile its sister company, EE, did the worst – only 15% of its customers said they’d had a year without problems.
Use our reviews of the best and worst broadband and TV providers of 2021 to find out which is the most reliable.
How to fix problems with your TV and broadband
In some cases you may need to report issues to your provider, but there are things worth trying yourself first.
Very slow speeds
If speeds are slower than you’re expecting, the first thing you should do is run a broadband speed test.
If you find your speed is a lot lower than expected, follow our tips on how to speed up slow broadband to see whether the problem is one you can fix yourself.
Several providers have signed up to Ofcom’s voluntary code of practice on broadband speed: BT, EE, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Utility Warehouse, Virgin Media and Zen Internet.
Each of these providers has committed to give customers a minimum download speed that is guaranteed. If you’re signed up with one of these and your speed drops below what was promised when you signed up, you may be entitled to a discount. Read our guide on your rights if your broadband is slow or interrupted for more information.
Bookmark our page on how to contact your broadband provider, so you have important phone numbers, email addresses and social media support to hand.
A large number of devices sharing a connection can lead to drop-outs, so a first step is to consider whether all of your devices need to be connected to wi-fi. Laptops, tablets and phones can all work in the background even if you’re not actively using them. If you find your connection struggles because lots of people are using it simultaneously, consider upgrading to a speedier connection.
However, the competing devices aren’t always in your own property – other people using the same wireless channel can impact your connection. Try changing the wi-fi channel you’re using to see if that helps.
Left without a connection
If you’re regularly left without a broadband connection, your broadband provider may be in breach of contract. You should note the date and time of any outages and contact your provider to complain. For more advice, read our guide on how to complain about interruptions to your broadband service.
Problems with your router
If your router isn’t working properly, that could be the end of stable internet until you get it fixed. But there are some things you can try to resolve the situation yourself.
- Router position is important. Keep it away from water (such as a fish tank), microwaves, cordless phones, windows and thick walls, since all of these materials can interfere with the signal. Keep it out of the sun as well – we’ve heard reports of routers overheating.
- Get to know the lights on your router. Each one has a purpose, so understanding what issues it might be trying to communicate to you is important. Read our guide on how to fix your router for more.
- If you’re struggling to get a good signal in certain parts of your home, consider a wi-fi extender. If it’s bad all round, try a mesh network. Either of these can help to improve wi-fi in your home.
- If your router is old, it could be time to get an upgrade. Your provider may upgrade you free of charge if you’re having persistent problems or are out of contract and renew it. Router security is also a potential concern – read our investigation into the risks of insecure routers.
You shouldn’t be experiencing persistent problems with your broadband or TV package if you’re paying good money each month for a stable connection. If your provider won’t help, considering switching to one that offers a better service – you’ll most likely get the most up-to-date hardware and could save money at the same time.
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Switch TV and broadband provider
If you’ve experienced a slew of issues from your TV and broadband provider that you’re unable to fix yourself, it may be time to consider a switch. If you’re no longer in a fixed-term contract, making a switch is also likely to save you money.
If the price of your deal goes up, it’s certainly worth weighing up your options. When your provider hikes its prices, you may be able to exit your contract without penalty – even if you’re within your minimum contract term.
Consider fibre broadband. As well as faster speeds, fibre is more reliable, and you could actually save money compared with a standard broadband connection. Read our guide on the benefits of fibre broadband for more, and check the best fibre broadband prices on Which? Switch, by entering your postcode and using the speed filters at the top left.
But if you’re happy with your current provider and have noticed the price creeping up every year, you still have options. Try haggling to get a better deal – while it can sound daunting, providers both expect and invite negotiation, especially if they think there’s a risk of you switching away. For advice on how to get started, read our tips on how to haggle for the best broadband deal.