Brits want internet reliability and consistency more than ultra-fast speeds

31st July 2019


Brits also dissatisfied with quality of mobile internet coverage, with many only capable of accessing minimal services via their mobile devices

31 JULY 2019, Oxford, UK: The majority of Brits would prefer consistently reliable connectivity over access to ultra-fast speeds, according to new research released today by Nominet – the profit with a purpose company operating at the heart of the internet infrastructure.

Of the 2,080 UK adults polled on their home internet connectivity, six in 10 (60%) would opt for reliability over speed. The result can be explained by people’s problems with home connectivity, with almost 4 in 5 adults (79%) saying that they have experienced internet reliability problems in the last year. Respondents also felt that the telecoms industry should do more to promote consistent geographical coverage over localised pockets of higher speeds, with two thirds (66%) agreeing with this view.

Speed and reliability

Despite the majority experiencing problems in the last year, over three quarters (77%) of respondents said they are satisfied with their home internet connection speed. A slightly smaller proportion (76%) are satisfied overall with its reliability.

Regionally, it was Londoners who were most dissatisfied with their home internet reliability, with nearly a fifth (18%) saying they are wholly dissatisfied. In comparison, it was the North East who seemed to suffer the least at home, with 86% being satisfied with their reliability and 83% with their speed, against a national average of 76% and 77% respectively.

The research has also brought to light Brits’ dissatisfaction and inability to rely on local mobile internet signals, which scored consistently lower rates of satisfaction than home internet connection. Of those polled, nearly a fifth (18%) said that they couldn’t rely on their local mobile internet coverage for anything beyond basic tasks. Scots, those in Northern Ireland and the South West in particular, seemed to struggle with their local mobile internet, with the figure rising to 22% in each of the three regions.

Capabilities and impact

As we move into an increasingly online era, where everything from work and education to socialising are connected to the internet, the consequences of having an unreliable internet connection can be far reaching. Flexible working has often been cited as a way for people to improve work-life balance and even help the environment, yet fewer than half of adults (48%) are confident that they could work from home without difficulties with their home internet connection. In the entertainment world, streaming services are rapidly replacing traditional TV and music services, yet only 50% of adults say they can stream music without difficulties, and 57% say the same about video streaming services like Netflix or BBC iPlayer. The impact also goes beyond the individual – with almost a third (29%) saying that the quality and speed of local internet connections has impacted their community, and more than one in 10 (11%) worrying that their children will not be adequately prepared for the digital future due to substandard internet access.

Commenting on the findings, Russell Haworth, CEO, Nominet, said: “In our ‘always on’ era it’s becoming more important than ever that everyone has access to a reliable and consistent connection.

“Whether it’s struggling to complete homework online, not being able to download critical documents for work or having an online payment cancelled or disrupted, the ramifications of a poor connection can stretch far into the future. If the UK is to have a vibrant digital future – not just in pockets, but across the whole country – we need to deliver on consistency and equality, and open up the way we build our digital infrastructure to new and independent players.”

Nominet’s Digital Futures research seeks to encourage debate on what matters most, as we chart a course towards a vibrant digital future in the UK. Nominet’s position as the company behind the .UK internet infrastructure means it can offer a unique perspective on the digital progress of the UK.

Fig 1. Satisfaction with home internet reliability – by region

Satisfied

Dissatisfied

Adults total 76% 13%
North East 86% 9%
East of England 81% 9%
West Midlands 80% 9%
East Midlands 80% 8%
Wales 78% 13%
South West 77% 11%
Scotland 75% 13%
North West 75% 17%
South East 75% 14%
Northern Ireland 75% 13%
London 71% 18%
Yorkshire and the Humber 68% 15%

Fig 2. Satisfaction with reliability of local mobile signal – by region

Satisfied

Dissatisfied

Adults total 68% 13%
West Midlands 78% 13%
North East 74% 8%
East of England 73% 10%
Scotland 70% 14%
North West 70% 13%
East Midlands 68% 11%
Wales 68% 14%
London 67% 15%
Northern Ireland 67% 13%
Yorkshire and the Humber 65% 9%
South East 61% 12%
South West 60% 16%

– Ends –

About the research

Nominet commissioned PDS (Populus Data Solutions) to survey a sample of 2,080 UK adults including 505 aged 18-24 and 1,032 UK children aged 11-17 to encourage debate on what matters most as we shape our digital future in the UK.

The research was conducted online between 30th January and 6th of February 2019 by PDS (Populus Data Solutions) and addressed several key themes including the impact of technology, digital ability and willingness, digital & society, social media and inclusivity & the workplace.

About Nominet

Nominet is driven by a commitment to use technology to improve connectivity, security and inclusivity online. For over 20 years, Nominet has run the .UK internet infrastructure, developing an expertise in the Domain Name System (DNS) that now underpins sophisticated threat monitoring, detection, prevention, and analytics that is used by governments and enterprises to mitigate cyber threats. The company provides registry services for top level domains, and is exploring applications for a range of emerging technologies including autonomous vehicles and TVWS – connecting rural areas with broadband.

A profit with a purpose company, Nominet supports initiatives that contribute to a vibrant digital future and has donated over £47 million to tech for good causes since 2008, benefitting more than 10 million people. www.nominet.uk.

For more information please contact:

Nominet Press Office, Brands2Life, +44 (0)20 7592 1200, [email protected]

Nominet Digital Futures Connectivity Report

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