Many users of standard broadband are happy with the speed they receive or don’t think they use the internet enough to justify upgrading to fibre.
Those are the results of a poll conducted by Which? magazine of 3,000 households which have stuck with their slower ADSL broadband connection, despite the availability of superfast internet.
96% of British households can access superfast speeds—those in excess of 24 Mbps downstream—but just 59% do. That means millions of households are still receiving internet on slower copper telephone lines, at average speeds of 10 or 11 Mbps.
According to Which’s survey, 41% of those who stick with fibre said it was because they were satisfied with those speeds.
Another 20% said they didn’t use the internet frequently enough to warrant the upgrade.
A further 20% said they didn’t think the upgrade would make much of a difference to their internet experience. And perhaps they’re right if they’re not doing much HD streaming or online gaming—two activities for which superfast connections are seen as essential.
8% said they didn’t think their current provider offered fibre, suggesting ISPs need to go further to advertise their fibre options. All national providers now offer FTTC fibre connections.
8% said they couldn’t be bothered to switch and 6% said they wanted to avoid any downtime involved with switching.
If a premise is already in an area where FTTC fibre is available, switching is painless and shouldn’t require an interruption in service. Transferring to a superfast cable connection from standard broadband can be more complicated, however.
But Which?’s survey also found that one in five people don’t even know if superfast internet is available in their area. And a further one in five said they thought the connections would be too expensive.
On average lower tier fibre packages cost just a few pounds more a month than superfast fibre and cable packages. And superfast deals from some budget providers, like TalkTalk and Vodafone, can be cheaper than ADSL packages from other ISPs.
In fact, last year Ofcom found that four million of households are paying the same or more for out of contract ADSL subscriptions than they would for new fibre packages. The telecoms regulator urged all customers, whether they were interested in faster speeds or not, to reevaluate their tariff and compare deals.
But Which’s survey also suggests ISPs need to go further to advertise the availability of superfast internet, as well as its benefits and affordability.