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Slow broadband speeds should mean a discount

Slow broadband speeds should mean a discount

Category: Broadband

Updated: 18/11/2016
First Published: 17/11/2016

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Do you live in an area with slow broadband speeds? Do you wish you weren't paying quite so much for it? You're not alone, and as such, there are fresh calls for the Government to improve access to broadband – and even to give those with slow broadband a well-earned discount.

"Disadvantage in society"

Broadband is no longer seen as something that's "nice to have". It's an all-out necessity for the majority of the population, so much so that 62% of respondents to a Broadband Genie survey believe that slow broadband puts you at a disadvantage in society, while just 13% feel that the Government has done enough to get people connected in rural areas.

There's clearly more that could be done, with 34% of users in rural areas feeling that their broadband was inadequate for their needs, compared with just 19% of urban users, with rural areas almost twice as likely to be dissatisfied with their broadband (17% of rural users were dissatisfied compared with 9% of urban users).

The need for speed

The importance of broadband is highlighted by the finding that many people wouldn't mind paying a bit more if it guaranteed faster speeds for areas suffering from slow connections – 20% would be willing to pay more to subsidise the rollout of better service for all – and there's also overwhelming support for offering a discount to those stuck with slow speeds (79%).

"Broadband has gone far beyond just a nice thing to have, and it's certainly no longer just an inconvenience if you have a slow or unreliable connection," said Rob Hilborn, head of Strategy at Broadband Genie. "Many families across the country in areas of poor connectivity are falling behind, and unless proper solutions are put in place, we risk these areas falling further as the digital gap widens.

"It's clear the public feel more should be done to get households grappling with slow broadband a better connection. Certainly they shouldn't be paying the full whack for a broadband package, which quite frankly in a lot of cases isn't fit for purpose. Having consumers subsidising the rollout of better broadband is an option, but it's more than likely this is going to need to be a joint effort between all parties to tackle this issue effectively."

What can you do?

If you think you're getting a less-than-stellar service, the first thing to do is check your broadband speed. This part of the process couldn't be easier – just do a quick search and you'll instantly find plenty of broadband speed tests that can give you an idea of just how fast (or otherwise) your connection really is.

If you're paying for a speed that you're clearly not getting, call your provider to see if there's anything that can be done. They may be able to offer you a cheaper package that reflects your current speed, or could suggest troubleshooting tips and tricks to improve things. They may even say that your local area's connection is being upgraded in the near future, or that you'll soon be able to get fibre optic, the holy grail of broadband connections.

However, fixing things could also mean switching provider, so if you're not getting the service or speed you want, it's worth checking a few alternatives to see what's on offer. Use our broadband comparison tool to get started – it lets you compare broadband, phone and TV deals in your area, giving you an idea of the kind of package (and hopefully, the kind of speeds) that could work for you.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.