Nearly five million people have suffered a broadband outage of three hours or more in the last year, according to new research.
A report by comparison service Uswitch.com said the average home had experienced more than a day – 29 hours – offline in total in the last 12 months.
It comes as millions of people continue to rely on home internet connectivity in order to work or study from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the survey, more than a quarter (28%) of those polled have experienced an outage during working hours, which Uswitch suggests has cost the UK five million working days and the economy more than £1.5 billion.
Uswitch’s research named Bristol as the UK’s outage capital based on average outage time per resident, just ahead of Brighton, Belfast, London and Norwich.
Nick Baker, broadband expert at Uswitch.com, said: “Close to five million people suffered the frustration of a broadband network outage of three or more hours last year.
“With so many of us still working from home, your broadband going down for even a few hours can be a major disruption with significant consequences.
“Lockdown life has made all of us rely on our broadband more than ever, whether that’s for work, or shopping, entertainment and keeping in touch with friends and family.”
Mr Baker called on internet providers to better communicate with customers about service issues but also said broadband users should be more active in contacting their provider when an issue occurs.
“Losing that vital link with the outside world is no minor inconvenience,” he said.
“So internet providers who fail to communicate effectively with their customers during an outage can make a bad situation worse if they leave people in limbo, not knowing when their service might be back online.
“If you believe you have experienced an outage, do not hesitate to contact your provider to make sure the problem is not being caused by a simple problem with your router. Quite often, your provider can tell you over the phone if the problem is unique to your own connection.”
The broadband expert also encouraged people to make a contingency plan, such as tethering to a mobile, should a broadband outage occur.
The research suggested that more than a third of people (37%) had used their mobile data during an outage, while 5% used a neighbour’s wifi connection.
However, more than a quarter (26%) said they simply stopped what they were doing and just waited for their broadband to come back online.