House movers spend 8 days on average waiting for broadband


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More than one million people who moved house in the last year spent over eight days on average waiting for their broadband to be connected, according to new research by Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service.

More than 390,000 house sales took place in the first three months of 2021 — the most in a quarter since 2007 — as people took stock of their living situation amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the large numbers of people currently working from home has thrown a spotlight on the amount of time movers are spending without a broadband connection.

Unfortunately, nearly all of the major broadband providers had their customers waiting at least a week to be connected. Plusnet took the longest time, at almost ten days, while Virgin Media customers had to wait just under seven.  

Table: Average number of days for provider to connect broadband

Provider

Average days without connection

Plusnet

9.9

TalkTalk

9.4

BT

8.6

EE

8.1

Sky Broadband

7.7

Vodafone

7.3

Virgin Media

6.6

Source: Uswitch.com

There is a big difference in the time taken to connect broadband across the country. People waited just over five days in Edinburgh, but some places took almost three times as long, with residents of Bristol having to endure almost 15 days without the internet.

With millions of employees working from home in the last year, the delay in getting a broadband connection had a major impact on work duties. One in three movers (29%) exhausted their mobile data allowance as they tethered their computer to their phone; more than one in ten (11%) had to take annual leave as they couldn’t do their work without broadband, and a similar proportion (10%) were reprimanded by their employer.

Movers had to call their broadband provider twice on average to set up their connection, but one in ten needed to make five or more calls. A quarter (26%) felt the process had sped up after speaking to their provider, while a fifth (21%) received a refund for the time they spent without broadband. 

Another fifth (20%) were given a dongle by their provider to access mobile broadband during the delay. Plusnet and Vodafone said they offer dongles or MiFi hubs to customers left without a connection, while BT customers offer a 4G Mini Hub if their installation is delayed by more than two days. Relocating EE customers get the first month of their broadband free, plus 50GB data for their EE device. 

However, almost half of people (46%) who had to wait for their internet received no additional help from their provider when they complained about the delay. Residents in rural areas were almost twice as likely to not receive extra help, with three-fifths of those in countryside locations (62%) missing out compared to almost a third (32%) in urban areas.

Only a quarter of movers consider broadband speed a priority when moving to a new home, compared to three fifths (61%) who think about the size of property and just over half (55%) thinking about the house’s location.

Almost half of movers (46%) had to pay a fee related to changing their broadband. Just under a fifth (19%) had to pay to leave their old contract early, with the average person paying £84. More than a third (35%) had to pay an installation fee at their new home, which was £74.60 on average.

In an interesting display of priorities, movers who were left without the internet were more inconvenienced by being unable to stream movies (27%) than being unable to work (16%).

Uswitch.com is urging movers to find out what broadband speeds are available at a potential new home by using a postcode checker. House-buyers can also minimise any disruption to their connection during a move by using a mobile broadband dongle, or tethering their mobile phone to their computer. 

Says Catherine Hiley, broadband expert at Uswitch.com:

 “Moving house is one of life’s most stressful experiences, and a long wait for a broadband connection can only make the process more torturous. 

“The amount of time it will take to get your new connection set up depends on your provider and where you live. So spare a thought for the poor people of Bristol who spend more than two weeks on average without a connection.

“There are a few simple steps you can take to speed up the process. Get the ball rolling and alert your new provider as soon as you know your moving date.

“Check whether your current provider can offer you a service in the place you’re moving to. If not, you may need to pay a cancellation fee for any time left on your contract.

“You might find that you have to sign up to a new contract when keeping the same supplier, so search to see if you could get a better, cheaper deal elsewhere.

“If you depend on a reliable broadband for work, or other activities, it’s really important to check the speed you are likely to get at any new home.”  

Table: Support offered from providers and advised notice periods

Provider

Moving house service (Yes/No)

Support given to customers while offline

Recommended notice period

BT

Yes – Moving Home

Contact BT online via My BT or call on 0800 783 0235

BT customers are offered unlimited mobile data and a 4G Mini Hub at no extra cost, so that they can stay online whilst their broadband is installed.

Free access to over 5 million BT Wi-Fi hotspots.

Two weeks

Plusnet

Call the moving team on 0800 587 1952

Plusnet offers devices such as dongles and BT Mi-Fi hubs.

Free access to over 5 million BT Wi-Fi hotspots.

Four weeks

Sky Broadband

Confirm your new address and moving date with Sky at least two weeks in advance

Sky customers can use any of the thousands of free Sky Wi-Fi hotspots available across the country.

Two weeks

Virgin Media

Contact Virgin Media

Virgin customers can stay online using the Virgin Connect app which lets you connect to 3.5 million+ WiFi hotspots around the UK.

One month

EE

Use ‘moving home’ option in My EE or book your move online

EE offers customers the first month of their broadband free, as well as 50GB of data for their EE device to help them get settled.

Three weeks

Talk Talk

Start a chat within the My Account section of the TalkTalk website or Customer Service number (020 3417 1000)

If there is a delay through no fault of the customer, TalkTalk provides Auto Compensation.

Two weeks

Vodafone

Call 191 free from your Vodafone mobile or 0333 304 0191 from any other phone

Additional mobile data offered to Vodafone pay monthly mobile customers.

30 days

For more information see Uswitch’s guide to moving house.

 

Chris Price


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