Two-thirds of UK online users report streaming issues since lockdown | Infrastructure | News | Rapid TV News
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Despite the assurances of UK service providers that their networks would maintain a high quality of online service even with many millions more people because of lockdowns, over 35% of UK users believe that they are experiencing worse internet performance than they did pre-lockdown says research from YouGov.
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The survey took the opinion of the survey of 2301 UK adults on 18 and 19 May and it would appear that with much more usage by many more people, perceived quality of experience has decreased making it harder for people to do what they needed to do on the internet.

The study found that almost three-quarters (73%) had been using their household connection more heavily than usual more than they ordinarily would, with 44% saying they use it much more than usual. Yet 35% said that they had been experiencing worse internet performance than they did pre-lockdown and 7% said their household connection was much worse than before. While only 40% of those in households that host five people or more say their home connection has deteriorated, 15% say their connection is “much worse” than before.

Among those who told YouGov that they had noticed a decline in their internet performance, 69% reported difficulty with general internet activity such as browsing while two-thirds (67%) indicated that they’d experienced disruption while streaming video and audio content. This was despite action taken early after the lockdown order by Netflix and then Amazon Prime Video and YouTube to play out material across Europe in standard definition and not HD for 30 days in order to minimise the pandemic’s strain on internet service providers.

Yet commenting on the YouGov survey’s findings, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at UK broadband and mobile comparison site Cable.co.uk noted that while it was natural to look at the results at face value and assume that connectivity has been measurably worse while we’re all locked indoors, both UK cable operator Virgin Media and BT broadband provision division Openreach had stated that there have been no network capacity issues to report. “In fact, our broadband networks have remained robust and reliable during this crisis,” he remarked.

“With many of us spending a great deal more time online, it’s easy to see why we might encounter more problems than at other times. YouGov’s report…has no way to factor an increase in issues due to increased exposure to online activity. You're more likely to encounter a problem after ten hours on the internet than after one hour on the internet, and this would be the case lockdown or not…what is certain is that UK broadband infrastructure can, and has, coped extremely well in this crisis."