It may come as no surprise to those who have wrestled with customer support at BT or NTL, but some 63 per cent of UK Broadband users regularly experience problems with basic services. An appalling 32 per cent requesting service up to three times per month.
According to new research commissioned by Motive Communications, customer service in the UK broadband is far from adequate. At a time when Broadband Britain is going nowhere fast, it adds up to yet another factor to inhibit the takeup of broadband services in the UK.
Although 87 per cent of respondents described themselves as 'expert' Internet users, most experienced problems completing tasks fundamental to routine broadband usage, such as accessing e-mail and connecting to the Internet.
Setting up the service on the PC was the greatest source of frustration cited by 20 per cent followed by connecting to the Internet 18 per cent - signing up for broadband 15 per cent and setting up e-mail 10 per cent.
For those respondents requesting service, it took up to one week to solve 77 per cent of problems, while 11 per cent took over two weeks. In terms of obtaining service, 86 per cent of respondents had to use the telephone rather than any online service facilities, with one-third of respondents having to wait up to one month from the time they ordered broadband service to the time it was installed.
Given that e-mail and Web access was often unavailable for days at a time due to connectivity issues, it's not surprising that over half of the respondents were dissatisfied with the service they received from their ISPs.
Donald Tait, Research Analyst, Frost & Sullivan said: "This survey suggests that much work still needs to occur in order to achieve 'Broadband Britain.' Crucially, services providers need to resolve these basic service issues. Otherwise, broadband will be stifled before it reaches critical mass."
A total of 362 respondents took part in the survey, which was undertaken across the UK during February 2002 by NOP New Media on behalf of Motive. Out of the total UK respondent base, 25 per cent lived in London, with 60 per cent being male. Also, 80 per cent of broadband subscribers were home users. NTL, Telewest/Blue Yonder and BT Openworld were the main service providers, cited by 76 per cent of survey respondents, with the remaining 24 per cent being made up of eleven smaller providers.