In a survey of 425 visitors to broadband comparison website Compare Broadband, 33% of voters responded to the question 'Why would you leave your internet service provider today' with 'I'm not getting the service I pay for', suggesting there is a stark difference between expectation and reality for many broadband customers.
Given that the poll was conducted on a broadband comparison website, which compares over 1,000 plans from 15 providers, a high rate of dissatisfaction with current services is to be expected and only 7% of voters claimed to be happy with their ISP.
The responses go some way towards describing where customer angst is coming from. Most respondents (36%) said their current provider is too expensive, 33% claimed they are not getting the service they pay for and 14% are unhappy with the customer service they receive.
The lack of concern about customer service might be a surprise but this trend is also reflected in TIO complaints figures. Complaints to the telecommunications ombudsman relating to customer service were down by 34% in the last three months of 2011, compared to the same period in 2010. Complaints about complaint handling were also down, by 62%, suggesting broadband providers are improving their customer service and complaints processes.
Compare Broadband spokesperson, Sarah McDonald, said: "Although ISPs can improve many aspects of their services, from billing to technical support, many customers expecting fast internet speeds are frustrated by a lack of access to ADSL2+, or slow connections due to their distance from the exchange. There isn't much that ISPs can do about these problems as they are tied into the current infrastructure."
Consumers who are frustrated with their current internet connection can try to improve their service in a number of ways.
If they are on mobile broadband and their service is consistently slow or frequently drops out, they can try switching providers to one that can provide better coverage to their area. Alternatively, they might be better on a fixed-line service such as ADSL2+ or cable if available. Customers stuck with mobile broadband because of a lack of fixed-line options can look into installing an aerial to their property in order to pick up a better signal.
Customers who are unhappy with their service should always contact their broadband provider first to find out if there is a technical solution to their problems but if they are not happy with the response, there is always the option to switch to another provider.