Over 75,000 members of the public have signed up to the campaign to reform Openreach and Three UK also joins the campaign

The campaign to Fix Britain’s Internet has today announced that, in recent weeks, over 75,000 people have responded to Ofcom consultation’s on the future of the nation’s broadband. The campaign was strengthened today when it was joined by Three UK.

Up and down the country, frustrated members of the public suffering from poor speeds, reliability and coverage have appealed to Ofcom to take radical action to restructure BT Openreach and improve the UK’s internet provision. Responses range from anger and disappointment with their current experience, to urging the regulator not to let Britain fall behind the rest of the world in cutting-edge technologies.

Earlier in the week, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport made clear the Government would be looking carefully at Ofcom’s eventual recommendations for the future of the national broadband network, Openreach, and would ‘get the right result’ even if that meant looking at full structural separation of Openreach from its current owner, BT.

Some of the respondents to Fix Britain’s Internet have shared their personal reasons for joining the campaign:

Aled Evans, a Welsh dairy farmer, said: “The farming industry is being held back by poor rural broadband connections. There’s a huge range of technology available that we can’t make the most of, and in some cases it can be hugely damaging to the farm. We need to be able to track for grain and feed prices on a daily basis, update cattle movement registrations, check milk quality results. Without a good quality connection internet, it’s almost impossible to run the business.”

Chris McManus, head of a small business in the centre of London, complained: “Openreach took over four months to move our business broadband connection to our new offices – costing us many thousands of pounds, and forcing staff to work from home for weeks. Openreach seemed unwilling or unable to carry out the work. There is little incentive for them to improve, so something has to change if British businesses are to get the service they need.”

Dan Kerr, an online gaming enthusiast from York, argued that a poor connection leads to “a notable slowdown” when he plays multiplayer games and that there is often “no point in playing a game that is laggy or slow. If everyone had the same speed you wouldn’t have to watch other people lag whilst playing games. You would have better gameplay with everyone.”

A spokesperson for the campaign said: “Ofcom is making huge decisions of national importance in this consultation, and the campaign to Fix Britain’s Internet is there to make sure the public can officially add their voices to the debate. We are delighted thousands are now doing so every day. This is clearly something that people up and down the country feel very passionately about, so it’s reassuring the Government has made clear it will take bold action to stand up for their interests.”

In another milestone for the campaign, Three has added their support for the calls for change.

Ofcom’s consultation closes on Tuesday 4th October. Those who would like to respond to the consultation, or would like more information about the campaign, should visit www.fixbritainsinternet.co.uk

Notes to Editors

 

The campaign to Fix Britain's Internet is an industry coalition founded by Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and the Federation of Communication Services, with new companies coming on board every week.

Key statistics:

  • 1 in 4 UK adults are unhappy with their internet service, and 1 in 8 believe it’s getting worse[i]
  • BT recently spent £12.5 billion on buying EE – more than it has invested in its fixed line network over the past 10 years combined[ii]
  • Ofcom findings reveal that BT has earned £4 billion of excess returns since 2004. No penalty has been issued against it by the regulator.[iii]
  • More people in Kazakhstan, Lithuania and Brazil are able to access pure fibre broadband in their homes and businesses than in the UK.[iv]
  • Monitoring of Openreach’s capacity to manage faults indicates that the number of faults rose by 28% from 2013 to 3.2 million in 2015[v]

League table: how British towns fare against foreign villages in the broadband speed stakes

 

Town Population Download Speeds (Mbps)
Oudenaarde, Belgium 30,000 202.3
Cosoba, Romania* 2,490 112.2
Sarmenstorf, Switzerland* 2,356 74.6
Prezemyslaw, Poland* 310 47.1
Fors, Sweden* 860 40.6
Rani, India* 6,900 34.8
Manchester 2,550,000 23.6
London 8,674,000 22.4
Sheffield 551,800 18.36
Aberdeen  196,670 15.7

Download speeds from towns in the above table marked with an (*) are recorded speedtests provided by testmy.net. Download speeds for UK cities are taken from USwitch data released in February 2016, compiled over a six-month period.

https://www.uswitch.com/media-centre/2016/04/hull-hosts-uks-most-sluggish-urban-broadband-speeds/

 

[i]Research conducted by Bilendi from a representative sample of 2,000 adults 26th – 27th July 2016

[ii] BT Annual Reports 2008-2016, segmental notes to the accounts. BT invested £10,923m over the 10 years from 2007-2016

[iii] TalkTalk Group response to Ofcom’s digital communications review consultation, para 3.76

[iv] Making communications work for everyone: Initial conclusions from the Strategic Review of Digital Communications 2016, Figure 7

[v] http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/telecoms/policy/digital-comms-review/DCR-statement.pdf