The majority of rural households are regularly frustrated with slow broadband speeds and confused over the type of service they should be receiving, according to a new survey by Essex based specialist broadband provider County Broadband.
Over 2,000 residents in rural England, including East Anglia, were surveyed* to assess the challenges local communities face with their digital connectivity. The findings follow County Broadband’s announcement of plans to roll out a new ultrafast full fibre network in rural villages across East Anglia which have historically suffered from poor connectivity.
Over half (57%) of those questioned said they were frustrated with their internet citing poor performance and unreliable speeds with 16% struggling on a daily basis. Nearly one in four (22%) weren’t even sure what speed they were contracted to receive from their provider.
There is also widespread confusion over the different types of broadband on offer with 43% unsure of the difference between superfast (Fibre-to-the-Cabinet) and ultrafast (Fibre-to-the-Premises) broadband. A further 17% mistakenly believed superfast is faster than ultrafast even though ultrafast offers speeds up to 1,000 Mbps – over ten times faster than superfast.
Under ‘Superfast Britain’, average downloads were a woeful 18.5 Mbps in 2018, behind Romania (38.6 Mbps), Madagascar (24.87 Mbps) and outside the world’s top 30**. That’s 30 years after Britain invented the World Wide Web.
Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband Ltd said: “Our survey reveals there is a lot of confusion with many homes and businesses signing up for ‘fibre’ thinking they are getting the fastest speeds when in fact their superfast connection relies on existing copper which significantly reduces speed and reliability.
“Our new ultrafast network, which uses full fibre directly into people’s home, will provide a real boost for residents, businesses and whole communities and put them in the top 6% in the UK for digital connectivity. We have already started construction and we will be rolling out across Essex over the coming months.”
The survey also revealed the growing reliance on the internet with the average household now having nine devices connected to their home network including one or more computer (94%), phone or tablet (91%), television (77%), Set-Top Box (66%), gaming console (42%) or digital assistant (34%).
Lloyd added: “As we increasingly rely on the internet in our day to day lives for downloading and streaming films, on demand catch up services, calls or even working from home the slowdowns become more and more noticeable. Ultrafast is the only way to ensure communities have the fast, reliable broadband they need for the future.”
County Broadband has secured access to a £46million investment fund to build full fibre, ultrafast broadband networks throughout the East of England commencing in Essex. Established in Aldham, Essex, in 2003 the company also provides a wireless internet service and currently has over 3,000 customers across East Anglia.
*Survey of 2,002 rural households in rural England, including East Anglia, commissioned by County Broadband and carried out by 4media in April 2019.
**‘UK slips to 35th in global table of broadband speeds’: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/10/uk-slips-to-35th-in-global-table-of-broadband-speeds