Two-thirds of consumers have had a problem with their broadband1 in the past year and “too many” still do not receive speeds needed for basic online tasks, a survey has found. Some 90% of people now believe broadband is essential, more than the 74% who think the same of a mobile phone, a television (73%) or a car (68%), while only housing, energy, food and running water are considered more important, consumers’ association Which?2 said. However, 68% have experienced a problem with their broadband in the past 12 months, such as slower speeds from a few minutes to up to a day (36%), intermittent connection drop-outs (35%) and slower speeds for a day or more (25%).
90% of people now believe broadband is essential (Photo: Getty)
The Queen3‘s Speech in May included plans to give every household a legal right to high-speed broadband and the Government expects an initial minimum download speed of at least 10 megabits per second (mbps) by 2020 under the new universal service obligation included in the Digital Economy Bill.
But Which? found that three in 10 people were getting download speeds below 10 mbps at the time of the survey in mid-September. It is calling for automatic compensation for those whose broadband speed falls below expected levels or drops out entirely.
Three in 10 people found to be getting download speeds below 10 mbps (Photo: PA)
Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home and legal services, said: “This research underlines again just how important broadband is to our everyday lives. Yet many of us are still experiencing persistent service interruptions and a large proportion of the population can’t access usable speeds to carry out the most basic tasks.
“The government must urgently press ahead with its reforms to give us the faster and more reliable broadband connections we all need.”
– Populus, carrying out the survey for Which?, surveyed 2,107 households online on September 13 and 14.
TalkTalk has assured customers that their personal details are not at risk following a warning that Wi-Fi passwords have been stolen. Last week, thousands of TalkTalk and Post Office broadband customers lost internet access after cyber attackers used a modified version of the Mirai worm cyber bug to target and disrupt broadband routers.1
Ken Munro, a security researcher at Pen Test Partners, has since warned that the attackers will be able to obtain the password details of those affected, potentially leaving them open to more targeted hacks. However, TalkTalk has dismissed the warning, insisting there is no evidence to suggest passwords have been stolen.
“As is widely known, the Mirai worm is affecting many ISPs around the world and it has affected a small number of TalkTalk customers,” a spokeswoman told BBC News.
“We continue to take steps to review any potential impacts and have deployed a variety of solutions to ensure customers’ routers remain safe.
“We have also employed additional network-level controls to further protect our customers.”
People affected by the recent cyber attack were advised to reset their equipment so an update could be installed, before using the wireless network name and password on the back of the router to connect to the internet.
However, Mr Munro insists these people could still be at risk if they continue using the same password.
“Most consumers never change the Wi-Fi keys written on the back of their router, so the fix didn’t actually fix the problem,” he commented.
“Once an attacker has got the Wi-Fi key, if they go near to the house they can get nearly everything from their home network.”
Mr Munro has therefore urged TalkTalk to “seriously consider” replacing customer routers immediately unless it can prove they have not been compromised.