Broadband internet service providers (ISPs) had better watch out: PC Advisor readers are about to start having their say about what really makes them fume when it comes to getting online.
PC Advisor's annual broadband reader survey is now live and invites home broadband users to speak up about what they like and dislike about their ISP. The online survey aims to provide a snapshot of home broadband use in the UK. It looks at how much home broadband users pay for their service, what they use their broadband connection for and how much of their leisure time is spent online.
The survey asks readers to take a quick test to reveal the actual internet connection speed they're getting and how that stacks up against the 'up to' connection speed they are paying for.
The survey also looks at customer loyalty to their current ISP as well as analysing why and how easily they may have changed allegiance from another broadband provider. Two years ago, consumer frustration at being stuck with an ISP they want to abandon reached a crescendo, prompting regulator Ofcom to step in and make ISPs ensure faster and smoother ISP migration.
Since then, issues such as bandwidth capping – where an ISP limits the amount of web surfing and downloading a customer can do in a month – have become a bone of contention.
While customers can buy set amounts of bandwidth or opt for a pricier uncapped service, there are differences in how broadband providers deal with customers who reach their monthly download limit. This has proved another flashpoint, as has the issue of privacy.
Last month, Virgin Media announced an 'education' initiative in conjunction with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) intended to discourage broadband users from illegally sharing music and other files over the internet. Virgin is trialling a three strikes rule for customer traffic monitoring suggests are engaging in P2P file sharing.
While consumers are aghast at ISPs watching and reporting on their internet use, other ISPs are watching with interest at how Virgin's two-month 'education trial is received.
PC Advisor's broadband survey runs for the next four weeks and is open to all home broadband users. Results of the indepth survey, which is being run in conjunction with sister title Macworld, will appear in a future issue of PC Advisor.
See PC Advisor's 2008 Broadband Survey