Half of UK consumers struggled with broadband speeds — NTT DATA

As a result of lacklustre broadband speeds during lockdown, 34% of UK consumers said they plan to upgrade their broadband packages, while 33% felt ‘left behind’ due to Internet connections not being up to standard, and 31% have struggled to find reliable mobile phone signals.

Millennials (25-34 year olds) and Gen Zs (16-24) were found to be particularly affected by connectivity issues, with 51% of Gen Zs and 48% of millennials feeling left behind as they believe their Internet speeds haven’t been good enough.

“This research shows how important reliable connectivity has been during lockdown – whether via mobile or broadband,” said Roei Haberman, head of telco, media and technology at NTT DATA UK. “Technology holds communities together, allows businesses to keep running and means individuals are able to stay in touch with those they love.

“Looking ahead, lots of telecommunications providers are working hard to meet this clear desire from consumers for a more connected future. We are already seeing the big players invest in upgrading communications infrastructure and improving access to technology across the United Kingdom.

“Innovation will be the main priority for the industry moving forwards, with new frontiers being explored, such as the use of artificial intelligence for network capacity planning. It’s innovations like this which will keep operators responsive and ahead of future network challenges.”

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Looking ahead, 57% of UK consumers expect the infrastructure to be suitable for working from home if needed.

In addition, reliance on video conferencing software, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, for face-to-face communication has risen by 48% over the course of lockdown, and 47% of respondents said that they will rely on their smartphone for work and entertainment post-lockdown.

UK consumers aged 44 or younger were found to be significantly more likely to be reliant on their smartphones (52%) and video chat applications (63%), compared to those aged over 44 (35% and 33% respectively.

“Digital now supports all aspects of our lives,” Haberman continued. “The surge in demand for high-bandwidth activities during lockdown looks set to continue in the transition back to a new normality.

“Telco companies need the resources in place so their networks can cope with this sustained level of demand on infrastructure moving forwards and maintain customer loyalty during this challenging time. This should sit alongside an even more rigorous focus on keeping communications and critical infrastructure reliable and secure for businesses and individuals alike.”

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.

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