If you’ve ever felt like climbing the walls because of a slow or unreliable internet service then you are not alone. New research has revealed that one in ten UK adults – the equivalent of 4 million Brits - are experiencing stress and anxiety due to poor internet connections. As a result, extreme behaviours such as angry outbursts, pleading with our devices and even breaking down in tears are becoming commonplace.
According to research out today from the campaign to Fix Britain’s Internet, 56% of the population complained they were unable to perform simple online tasks such as working from home, streaming films, chatting on Skype, or making purchases due to a poor internet connection. A quarter said the frustration caused by slow internet is comparable to public transport delays and one in seven believe it induces the same level of stress as being on a long-haul flight next to screaming children.
While many of us have been irritated by buffering, experts now warn that prolonged periods of this internet induced stress could have a long term impact on our wellbeing.
Commenting on the research, Neuroscientist Dr David Lewis said: “The tortoise-like speed of a poor broadband connection doesn’t just a waste our time, it can also be detrimental to our physical and mental health. My own lab’s scientific research has proved that when internet connections slow to a crawl in the middle of completing an online task, we experience significant increases in blood pressure and heart rate, impaired reasoning and decision-making, growing anxiety, intense frustration and even incidents of ‘computer rage’.
At the moment, as many as one in four Brits say they are unhappy with their internet service, while one in eight (13%) believe that it’s actually getting worse. It’s even reached the extent where nearly two thirds of UK adults say they’re let down by their internet connection at least once a month.
However, help is at hand for frustrated internet users as for the first time in ten years, Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, is giving the public the opportunity to have their say on the future of the UK’s internet. With both the regulator and MPs recognising that Openreach, the UK’s national internet network, is in need of radical change, the campaign to Fix Britain’s Internet has been launched to give members of the public the chance to email Ofcom directly to have their say.
Notes to Editors
Research conducted by Bilendi from a representative sample of 2,000 adults 26th – 27th July 2016
ONS figures show there are 51.3 million UK adults, of which 80% have access to broadband, meaning there are 41 million UK adults who are online.
Ultrafast fibre figures source from Fibre to the Home Europe Council http://www.ftthcouncil.eu/documents/Reports/2015/2015_RANKING_SLIDES.pdf
Five reasons why it’s time to Fix Britain’s Internet
1 in 4 UK adults are unhappy with their internet service
1 in 8 believe their internet service is actually getting worse
60% of Brits say they’ve been let down by their broadband in the last month
Only 2% of the UK have access to ultrafast fibre broadband far behind the likes of Lithuania and Kazakhstan
BT’s investment in Openreach has been flat since 2008
About the Fix Britain’s Internet campaign
Fix Britain's Internet is a campaign that aims to fight for the best possible internet for Britain's communities. The campaign was started by an industry coalition comprising Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and the Federation of Communication Services - and we're growing every day.
We represent millions of consumers and businesses who rely on Openreach, but are let down every day, struggling to get the internet speeds they need. Together, we're asking Ofcom to be brave and make bold changes to create an Openreach that delivers the broadband Britain deserves.