The European Home Broadband Satisfaction League

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How satisfied are consumers with their home broadband in five European countries?
15.9.2015

Today’s consumers live connected lifestyles. Typically not only is their personal computer or laptop likely to be perpetually logged in, but also their home entertainment and even home security devices. Looking further ahead, the advent of the Internet of Things meansan ever-increasing number of consumer technology will be connected to the internet in the near future. All of this means that our home broadband connection, whether fixed line or mobile, provides access to many services that we would be hard-pressed to live without. To enable our increasingly digital lifestyles, governments and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) across Europe are focused on providing fast and unrestricted access to high-speed broadband services for all. As a result many more people have access to faster broadband connections than they did a decade ago.

We looked at levels of consumer satisfaction with their home broadband service in the following areas, how happy are people with the speed of their broadband? While theoretical speeds might promise one thing, are people actually happy with what they get? Most of us now use Wi-Fi as the default connection and so it’s important that the router works and that it doesn’t slow down the service. How happy are people with the equipment provided by their ISP? Providing a quick service is one thing but what about when things go wrong? Or when people want to get a little extra from their networks? We looked at how satisfied people are with the service and support their ISP provides.

The European Commission’s new Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Gunther Oettinger, is keen to strike a balance between the need to protect consumers and to support the service providers who must invest in the future broadband, as well as ensuring consistent protection for consumers across Europe. The challenge is to provide fair competition for service providers and also offer consumer choice. There is no doubt that consumers whose service expectations aren’t met are increasingly willing to switch to another supplier if an alternative options exist. So it is important that ISPs provide an excellent customer experience if they are to reduce churn, attract increasingly tech savvy consumers and develop profitable services.

Our survey showed that, while the majority of European consumers are reasonably satisfied with their broadband service, there is still significant room for improvement: 

17% of Europeans say that their home broadband speed is often poor 

19% have regular problems with their wireless internet at home 

10% say that their mobile internet provides a better service than the broadband connection 

Less than one in four consumers (23%) feel that their internet provider gives them all the help they need to resolve connection problems. 

Only one in ten say their internet provider gives them advice on how to implement more advanced features to in their home network.

The factors that affect the development of broadband networks such as geography, population size and density, and legacy infrastructure differ significantly across Europe, so it was not surprising to find discrepancies in consumer perceptions across our five countries. Interestingly the winners on broadband speed weren’t always top of the league for customer service, showing that no service providers can afford to be complacent. The Czech Republic topped our home broadband satisfaction league, boasting higher than average satisfaction levels with broadband speed and extremely high levels of satisfaction with the service provided by their ISP. In second place, the Netherlands enjoyed the highest levels of satisfaction with broadband speed and second lowest levels of Wi-Fi problems. However, just 8% said their internet provider gives advice on how to implement more advanced home network features. 

Tying with the UK for third place, Germany was the least satisfied country with home broadband speed, but by far the happiest with their internet service provider; 31% agreed that their internet provider provides ‘all the help I need to resolve connection problems’. In the UK, 20% of consumers said their home broadband speed is often poor, but they experienced the lowest levels of problems with home Wi-Fi. UK consumers also experience lower levels of satisfaction with their ISP’s customer service than the other countries in our survey. At the bottom of our league is Sweden due to a combination of unsatisfying results: Almost one in five consumers said their home broadband speed is often poor and 16% have regular problems with their Wi-Fi. Just 5% felt their internet provider also provides advice on how to implement more advanced features in their home network. 

Our research revealed that a small number of consumers blame their routers for poor connectivity, a similar proportion to those that hold their governments accountable. Ultimately, ISPs need to keep one step ahead of consumers and pre-empt any concerns to mitigate against churn rates and maximise customer satisfaction. Interestingly, there is a small but consistent percentage of tech savvy users in each region that have already upgraded their internet connection at home to take advantage of faster broadband speed or are planning to do so. By focusing on the needs of these digitally fluent consumers, ISPs have a significant opportunity to build long-term loyalty by providing a premium service.