New research by MoneySuperMarket reveals that nearly two-thirds of Brits (64 per cent) would consider switching internet service provider (ISP) if they limited access to websites, with nearly six million trying to access a blocked site in the last week alone.
The study highlights confusion among Brits regarding internet speeds. Despite one-fifth of Brits using internet services for at least 25 hours per week, 22 per cent don’t actually know their speed, although speed impacts the overall price they pay. In reality, most (55 per cent) only care that it works and does what they need it to.
Taking aim at online games, the findings also reveal that nearly a third of households (31 per cent) have changed their package as a result of the extra bandwidth required to play online video games such as Fortnite. At an average cost of £184.32 a year per household, it seems many Brits are willing to pay more to play their favourite games.
Depite the clear indication that most Brits wish to be able surf the net freely, the country is divided on whether ISPs should be allowed to censor sites and content on the whole; 21 per cent believe they should be able to, while 27 per cent think they shouldn’t.
18 – 34-year-olds admit to using the internet for a combined average of nearly 11.5 hours per week – a relatively low number compared to other age groups – but nearly half (45 per cent) have attempted to access a site that was blocked.
As the government attempts to address internet policy issues through the Digital Economy Act, including introducing age restriction blocks on adult content by the end of 20181, the research reveals this would result in a quarter of Brits switching ISPs, with those living with their partners most likely to do so.
Emily Thompson, broadband expert at MoneySuperMarket, commented:
“The findings from this research are very relevant to conversations around net neutrality and what constitutes a ‘fair internet’. Net neutrality is the concept that all data on the internet should be served equally, with no connections to sites favoured over others – so it seems that Brits really value having the freedom to explore the internet at their leisure, without ISPs implementing blocks or throttling services based on package types.
“While the dialogue regarding net neutrality in the UK is relatively low-key, it has controversially been repealed in the US, suggesting that it could become a much bigger issue once Brexit is finalised and we look at rethinking European legislation. For now, ISPs need to decide what’s in the best interest of their customers: eschewing the current net neutrality laws to reduce competition or getting on the side of the consumer and keeping the internet fair and equal.
“When it comes to online gaming, it’s clearly an important part of internet culture with many opting to upgrade their broadband package to cope with the large bandwidth required to play many of these games. As online worlds and communities continue to expand, ISPs need to be able to keep up, providing affordable and reliable internet packages that allow Brits to stay connected to the content that matters most to them.”
For more information, visit MoneySuperMarket’s new “From Web Speeds to Net Neutrality: What Makes the Internet Fair?” page for an in-depth analysis.