• Valeria Shreiber

What is the actual cost of your cheap broadband?

Broadband has basically become a necessity these days, but if you’re not careful the monthly cost of internet access can steadily creep up. You’ll see plenty of cheap broadband deals on the market when searching for a new broadband provider, but choosing a service that doesn’t meet your needs, just because it could save you a few pounds each month, might end up costing you more in the long run.

You could lose days waiting for slow broadband

For many of us, working and studying from home is now the new normal, but if you’re working from your laptop with a slow broadband connection, it could turn your new working day into an actual nightmare.

The truth is, it doesn’t take a lot to make a significant impact on your working productivity. If you're facing 40 minutes of slow internet per day, this results in 21 days a year wasted waiting for files to download, videos to buffer and websites to load. That equates to the average amount of annual leave in the UK. Just think, a year’s worth of time off wasted on bad internet.

To put a monetary value on that, if the average UK salary is £30,420 a year, this works out at £2,340 lost waiting for slow broadband.

Slow broadband reduces your productivity

What’s more, slow broadband isn’t just wasting time, it creates a great deal of frustration and can drain your energy and productivity.

How many times have you taken an extra coffee break because your internet connection was so slow it was frustrating? How many times have you put off working on a task that requires significant bandwidth because you know it will be slow and discouraging? How many times have you lost and had to redo work because of a bad broadband connection?

Tasks that should be quick and straightforward can be frustrating and long-winded activities if you’re working on a slow or unreliable broadband connection.

Slow broadband can even lower house prices

Extremely slow broadband speeds could knock a quarter off the value of a property, according to research by HouseSimple. The online estate agents looked at average house prices on streets with some of the slowest broadband speeds in Britain – less than 1 Mbps versus the UK average of 46.2 Mbps – and compared house prices on those streets with neighbouring streets, by looking at the postcode district average.

The research revealed that house prices were on average 24% lower on the streets with the slowest broadband speeds – £182,983 compared to £240,031 for the average postcode district. For example, home broadband speeds on Coppice Farm Park, St. Leonards, Tring, are a woeful 0.719 Mbps – only 1/64 of the UK average broadband speed. Average house prices here are £211,333, which is 62% lower than the postcode district average of £556,974.

Nowadays broadband is very much a necessary home utility like water, gas and electricity. Therefore, areas without good access to these utilities are affected by prices drop as buyers and renters are less likely to move into a property where these facilities are of poor quality.

Media watchdog Ofcom said the number of properties without a decent broadband connection – defined as a download speed of below ten megabits per second – stood at 578,000 in May 2019. That is 282,000 fewer than a year ago but the regulator said the figure is still too high.

Apartment blocks, streets, even entire postcodes are limited in the type of broadband they can get by the infrastructure in place. It’s worth noting that although fibre-optic internet is now available in the vast majority of locations throughout the UK, each property’s ability to connect to that network varies. It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to end the 'digital divide', by bringing cutting-edge internet speeds to the entire country by 2025.

Get more for less when you switch

Always keep in mind that switching to a faster broadband package can sometimes cost you less each month, if you account for how quickly you can perform tasks online. And in addition to making your work day faster, easier and more productive, your monthly fees could actually be lower themselves if you’re currently paying out-of-contract prices.

Not every broadband provider offers the same speeds - some providers will only let you choose between two different speeds, while others have four or five on offer. You may be able to get a faster connection by choosing a different provider. How fast a connection you'll get also depends on where you live - unfortunately, the fastest speeds aren't available everywhere. So before agonising over which speed to go for, it's worth finding out which deals are available where you are - and how much they cost - using ApTap.

Happy switching!

Team ApTap

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