back to article Millions of Brits stick with current broadband provider rather than risk no Netflix

Millions of Brits would rather pay through the nose for services via their existing broadband provider than switch suppliers and risk a prolonged period without access to the web, a poll has found. Some 35 per cent of customers said the fear of broadband blackout would deter them off signing up to another provider, according …

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  1. Michael B.

    Quality of Service is probably more important to me

    Yes I could switch to somebody cheaper but then I probably wouldn't get the same quality of service or speed that I enjoy at the moment. it's not like Gas or 'lecy where you get the same product so switching to a cheaper provider makes sense. You certainly get what you pay for!

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Quality of Service is probably more important to me

      Maybe the ££££££ figure relates to how much we could all save if we switched to Talk Talk?

      All these arguments for switching price the consumers time at £0 per hour and ignore individual requirements.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Quality of Service is probably more important to me

      And if the new provider will not guarantee what speeds and QoS one will actually get it becomes a leap in the dark so often better the devil you know.

      For me, and I guess many, it is not just about money. While it is nice to pay less than more, the savings are not always that significant. Plus, while one company may be cheaper than another now, the situation could easily be reversed in the future. If my crystal ball worked it would be a whole lot easier to choose.

      1. Captain Hogwash

        Re: Quality of Service is probably more important to me

        Switch your crystal ball supplier and save ££££!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quality of Service is probably more important to me

      After years of latency, lag and buffering problems with VirginMedia I switched to a different ISP and my connection has been flawless ever since. Changing ISP's could potentially bring back those kind of issues so that is my reasoning for not switching.

      The peace of mind and quality connection is worth the couple of extra quid.

      Three have not kicked me off the totally unlimited One Plan yet so I can tether 4G as much as I want, so any downtime between switching ISP's or say moving house is not an issue.

      1. BoldMan

        Re: Quality of Service is probably more important to me

        The problem is those sorts of outcomes are unpredictable. You were fortunate to have the connection improved but it could quite easily have been worse. The focus is always on line speed, but not on reliability and latency.

        Changing ISPs is pretty much pot luck and in my mind not worth the hassle. The customer service is crap whoerver you go with anwyay!

        1. Jon 37

          Re: Quality of Service is probably more important to me

          > The customer service is crap whoerver you go with anwyay!

          A&A have really great customer service - they have real engineers who know what they're talking about answering the phones at their UK office, and they have a reputation for yelling at BT Wholesale/Openreach a lot to get problems fixed. But they're more expensive than "bundled" broadband from your phone provider. I think they're worth it!

          (Not affiliated with them, but am a happy customer - two ISPs refused to fix my line fault, the first fobbed me off and refused to send anyone, and the second tried to charge me to send an engineer to fix it. I moved to A&A who fixed it with one phone call plus one engineer visit).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quality of Service is probably more important to me

      I tend to agree with you, the problem is you don't know how good your current ISP is till you switch. After 15 years with PlusNet I was tempted away with a new customer offer that saves me £540 over the 18 month contract term. That's not a typo: it does save me £30 per month. Interestingly with my new ISP I get a much faster connection too. As such from now on I will probably switch every time.

  2. David Roberts Silver badge

    I hope

    That they allowed for all the Virgin Media cable users who could save money by going to ADSL.

    This may save money, but can't match the performance.

    Looks more like puff for a switching service.

    1. Dabooka Silver badge

      Re: I hope

      Quite.

      My switch, bought on by a house move, from Plusnet fibre to VM has cost me about £10 a month more, but I get the TV into that and I now get 100mbit. Worth it but not allowed for in these reports.

      Obviously when they hike the prices up I'll probably be off but until then it's a no brainer

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: I hope

      We're on a high tier from Virgin and are unlikely to switch, but if you don't need the full 200MB/s, the new FTTC connections are pretty impressive, I've seen a connection almost hit the advertised 80MB down, 20MB up, which is plenty fast for most people.

      1. K Silver badge

        Re: I hope

        I got stitched up previously by BT with FTTC... With VM, I now get a solid 100Mb down, pings are ok and TV rolled into it.. I won't be switching any time soon.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I hope

          I switched from Virgin to SSE after Virgin kept upping the price every 6 months.

          It was a gamble but it paid off.

          Consistently 50-70MB download, 20MB upload (pissing over virgins measly 2mb upload I was getting previously) and all for £21 a month including line rental fixed for 18 months (Sadly this deal seems to have now disappeared).

          It's worth asking around your neighbours to see what they're getting with their suppliers.

          They should allow 1 month trial periods or some such thing though.

    3. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: I hope

      allowed for all the Virgin Media cable users who could save money by going to ADSL. This may save money, but can't match the performance.

      But given Virginmedia's persistent and aggressive price hiking, and deteriorating reliability, I would not advise people to join, and I've got to the point where I'm shortly to tell VM to sling their hook. Also worth noting that Virginmedia upload speed is crap, whereas if you're on a premium ADSL package (and the line delivers) you'll have upload speeds 2 or 3x as fast as VM.

      IMHO very few users will see the difference between a good ADSL package and VM's supposed superior speed. They will however benefit from Virginmedia's patchy reliability, and legendarily poor customer service.

  3. zaax

    Its also the loss of a phone number that you have had since the 60's

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Whitehall 1212?

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        No

        Hunter 1234

        you really have to be of a certain age to get that one.

    2. Zmodem

      why would you loose your phone number, you can keep your number when moving house and switching mobile networks

      1. mrmond

        Not always

        But while you can keep your number when moving from any provider TO Virgin, if you try switching from Virgin/Cable back to BT or Sky etc you'll get told no, can't do it.

        Happened to me and lot's of people I know on several occasions.

        "But you have the right to keep your number!" you say...

        Uh huh, try telling that to the providers, they'll flat out tell you it's not possible when you move back from cable.

        1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

          Re: Not always

          But while you can keep your number when moving from any provider TO Virgin, if you try switching from Virgin/Cable back to BT or Sky etc you'll get told no, can't do it.

          I have a friend who has just done that and had no problem doing so, so it's not an absolute.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not always

          Not necessarily true.

          I left Virgin and took my phone number with me about 8 months ago with no fuss other than them bitching I hadn't notified them of my intention to leave before I started the process of switching.

          When I pointed out that they were already 18 months into 'fixing' a piss poor broadband service which wasn't due to be finally resolved for at least a further 3 months (not great when Management works from home) they got less whiny.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What is it with Register comment-tards and mis-spelling 'lose' as 'loose' ?

    3. Jess

      Re: Its also the loss of a phone number that you have had since the 60's

      Sky held onto a number that had been family's since the late 80's. And I had paid to move in the the late 90's. Fortunately, it was not important enough to make a fuss about. (Other than any time someone asks for a recommendation for Sky or not).

      Talktalk lost a business number that had a pedigree back to at least the 60s. (I can remember it being a 4 digit number, and I have seen adverts with a previous number with the same last 3 digits.)

  4. Zmodem

    the last time i bothered with a landline and switched networks, it took 6 hours to go from madasafish to zen

    its no different to updating the DNS/nameservers for a website, the last few hours, is choppy of it works and it does'nt

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a con

    Uswitch has been paid by TT to promote this news story for a commission. TT needs new customers and is desperate. Hence this story plant.

    Except Vermin, please be aware that all the ISP's feed off the BT tits. SO changing providers will still be at the mercy of BT Openreach and when they decide to move you, without loss of service.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's a con

      No they don't - there are ISPs that don't use an Openreach last mile. BBrn, gigaclear, fibrecity.

      If you're in a big city, KCOM, Colt and Verizon will lay a fibre to your door.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: It's a con

        No they don't - there are ISPs that don't use an Openreach last mile. BBrn, gigaclear, fibrecity.

        But none of those allow other CPs to use their cables so the only thing you can do is switch back to an Openreach based solution. The ones you list are mostly present in areas where they offer a far better connection than openreach so it's not much of a choice.

        If you're in a big city, KCOM, Colt and Verizon will lay a fibre to your door.

        Eh? KCOM are rolling out fibre everywhere they cover (Hull and environs) but I don't think they operate anywhere else. Do Colt and Verizon actually lay any local loop cable in the UK? I'd be moderately surprised. I thought only openreach and VM laid local loop in the UK.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's a con

          Yes, Kcom have a national network with their own last miles where capacity warrants it. Colt and Verizon both have local networks. Next time you're in London have a look at the boxes in the pavement - the lids identify the owner.

          It's probably fair to said that they won't install a fibre for a price a domestic customer is likely to want to pay though.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's a con

            KCOM sold their national network a while back to city fibre

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's a con

      So, fake news yes?

  6. Whitter
    Unhappy

    Lack of useful customer data to blame

    My Virgin media "fibre broadband" can't cope with iPlayer without commonly experiencing intermittent buffering - the thing their adverts say doesn't happen with them. I assume it's due to high contention in my area as the data rate shouldn't be that high (standard def streaming, not HD). Why don't I switch then? Well, because there is no way to know if the service from the alternative will be any better. As far as I am aware, there is no means to evaluate an alternative before taking the plunge and, as the article says, there's a lot of hassle in doing a switch which may leave me in a similar or worse state than I already am.

    1. Dabooka Silver badge

      Re: Lack of useful customer data to blame

      I wonder if it;s the app on their boxes which I've found to be useless. Firestick and apps on TV stream it fine?

    2. Shady

      Re: Lack of useful customer data to blame

      Are you watching via a smart TV, STB or games console? I'm with Virgin, and iPlayer does not work for me at all when watched either via Tivo or the Samsung smart telly - can't even show SD, never mind HD.- buffers and buffers and buffers until iPlayer itself says "can't play this content". Completely unwatchable. However, watching iPlayer via XBone is silky smooth and the UI extremely responsive. All the devices are connected via WiFi and are around ten feet from the Virgin Superhub which is in a different room, otherwise I'd have used wired connections. Virgin does not get off though - I think it's the shitty Superhub as even my Echo is unable to stream music without dropping out (even if only for a second or so). Many people buy a dedicated router and just use the hub in Modem mode, and I plan to buy one soon myself.

      1. Whitter

        Re: Lack of useful customer data to blame

        I plug a laptop into the telly as it happens. Running Chrome in that particular case, though both IE and Opera have similar problems.

        I've heard rumour that nexflix boxes do a good job in a shoddy download environment: any reg readers have any info on that?

    3. phguk

      Re: Lack of useful customer data to blame

      Last year I switched from BT Infinity (fibre) to Virgin only to find that during peak hours (16:00-midnight) I was getting less than 1Mb down making iPlayer unusable. Look on the VM forums to see how many people are stuck in VM areas which are over-contended with no plan to upgrade,Thankfully I was able to cancel the move during the 14-day cooling off period and (as an added benefit), BT regarded me as a new customer so I was able to take advantage of their introductory offer. At least with a fibre service, you have a dedicated path from your house to the cabinet & exchange.

    4. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Lack of useful customer data to blame

      I had VM when it was still Cable&Wireless, 1999 and had 1mpbs home line to my house when most people were still listening to their modems dial up to get on t'internet! Even my company only have a 512mbp ( albeit commercial line ) at that time. Ah memories...

      I did have a brief 2 year stint with SKY around 2007 and I was lucky if I got 1mpbs on a good day!!! Dumped them and went straight back to VM, started off on the slowest/cheapest speed and never looked back. The IP stays more less static for months at a time. Rock solid and touch wood it's only failed once for 30 mins in 3 years and the speed probably wobbles with a drop of about 20% at 4pm when the kids get in from school, by 7pm it's back up to full pace again. Other than that I've happily downloaded 200GB some months on the lowest speed and they've never said a dicky-bird.

    5. Known Hero

      Re: Lack of useful customer data to blame

      @whitter.

      Use a VPN- VM have been doing this for years and it is a pain in the arse.

      My mate was trying to watch my twitch stream (big streamers worked fine) and it was constantly buffering even down at 480p (nobody else had issues (BT) even at 1080p) he then switched to watching my steam stream and perfect stream at 1080p. They throttle traffic they don't think is important enough for them. Fuck VM will never recommend them. plenty of bandwidth and still throttle like mad during peak hours, they even have the balls to claim that they don't throttle traffic for top tier customers!!

      1. Whitter
        Pint

        Re: Lack of useful customer data to blame

        I'll try it out.

        Cheers!

  7. ukgnome Silver badge

    I have never had a loss of service when switching. What a load of silliness.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Alert

      It's not common but does happen. The most common issue is when the gaining CP doesn't get informed or fluffs up the activation date. In theory the losing CP is supposed to be notified of a successful gain before disabling the account but sometimes it goes wrong.

      I've had it happen to me once (had no internet for nearly 12 hours) and to a couple of friends. One of them ended up falling into the BT rabbit hole. The losing CP closed his account three days early (someone trying to get things tidied away before the weekend I suspect). The gaining CP's order hadn't gone through(blocked by the weekend). That left Saturday, Sunday and some part of Monday during which he was in limbo. At some point during that period openreach gave his cabinet connection to another customer. What knocked it into a cocked hat was that the cabinet was full. openreach refused to give him back his connection so he had no choice but to drop back to ADSL for two months.

      To be fair he did get two free months free internet but that's poor compensation when you go from a 50Mb/s connection down to 4Mb/s.

  8. caffeine addict Silver badge

    The average saving just for switching provider is £9.80 per month, said uSwitch. It found Brits could be missing out on up to £327m savings per year, if the results were extrapolated across the population.

    Does this "average" include the people who can't save anything? Because, if not, that extrapolation is complete and utter marketing bollocks.

  9. TheProf
    Happy

    Bonus

    I've changed ISP twice in the past 2 years and on both occasions my connection speed has increased slightly. I think pulling the plugs out and fitting the new ones at the exchange cleans the contacts.

    The downtime has been insignificant. Go out for a walk when the internet disappears and it's back when I return.

    1. NonSSL-Login

      Re: Bonus

      More likely due to a better modem/router or the way connections get renegotiated between the router and the local node it connects too after disconnections.

      Unplug your modem/router many times a day and it will negotiate a slower speed thinking the line cannot handle the current sync speeds. Unplug it once a month and there is a good chance it will negotiate a higher speed if your line is good enough although the increase could be negligible.

    2. TheProf
      Joke

      Re: Bonus

      A down vote? What do you want Donald, blood?

      (When are we getting a good old fashioned British two-finger salute icon?)

  10. Richard Harris

    There's also a value to keeping your email address

    As someone who still clings to my ntlworld.com email address like the NRA would with a rifle, I think the value of a static email address is important. I could change to a gmail type address, but that defeats the point of having a long lasting, static email address.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: There's also a value to keeping your email address

      Buy your own domain? I've owned a .co.uk domain for about 20 years now. Switched ISP a number of times, still have same e-mail address.

      1. Richard Harris
        Facepalm

        Re: There's also a value to keeping your email address

        I had my own domain, but my ntlworld.com email address pre-dated that. You missed the point. Changing ISP's or creating my own email addresses from a new domain has the same net effect. I lose my old email address and have to start again with a new one.

        1. AF

          Re: There's also a value to keeping your email address

          Ah, but your ntlworld.com address is reliant on someone else maintaining that domain and service - so when Virgin (or whoever they get sold to in the future) decide to drop it, you'll still need to get a new address.

          By owning your own domain, you are in full control - you can switch email service whenever you want (or host your own if you're up for it), and no-one else can muck you around.

          The sooner you switch, the less pain you'll suffer in the future. There really is no reason to use the email address that comes with your ISP for anything, other than receiving the ISP's junk...

        2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: There's also a value to keeping your email address

          Obviously it works best if you can go back 20 years and buy your domain then (although they did cost about £70 p.a. - one of the few cases of serious negative inflation), but as others note, the sooner you do it, the shorter the pain.

      2. AndrueC Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: There's also a value to keeping your email address

        I went with a 'me.uk'. Although oddly when I first got it it cost me more than '.co.uk'. That's no longer the case though. I've also had a few "Dot what dot UK?" conversations but not recently. I also run my own mail server and have managed better availability and uptime than the servers provided by most of my friends' ISPs. Although since several of them are with BT that's perhaps no huge achievement.

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