early 15 million homes suffered a broadband outage lasting three hours or more over the last year, according to new research.
The study by comparison service Uswitch.com found that the number of people hit by internet disruption was three times higher than the previous 12 months.
A survey of 4,000 people by the firm found that the average home was left offline for more than two days over the course of a year, with 16 million working days lost to outages.
It named Edinburgh as the UK’s outage capital, with a reported average downtime of 175.3 hours over the last 12 months, ahead of Bristol Leeds Sheffield and Brighton.
Belfast residents reported the shortest amount of downtime, with only 11 hours of outages reported over the course of the year.
If your connection goes down for more than two days you could be entitled to compensation of just over £8 a day
The impact of service outages was likely to have been felt far more strongly over the previous 12 months as millions of people worked from home during the pandemic.
According to Uswitch’s research, more than a third of people beset by broadband issues (36%) turned to their mobile data to stay online, but 63% said they went through their entire monthly data allowance as a result.
Service disruption can also have a significant impact on the economy, Uswitch said, with the firm estimating it has cost the UK almost £5 billion in lost work time.
“Outages have affected the country like never before over the past 12 months, with three times as many people complaining of a lost connection than in the previous year,” Ernest Doku, Uswitch.com broadband expert, said.
“The first thing to do if you think you’re suffering an outage is to check whether it’s a problem with your router, which can often be fixed with a simple reset.
“If it’s clear that the issues are beyond your control, contact your provider and they will be able to inform you of any problems in your area and, hopefully, an estimated time for a resolution.
“If your connection goes down for more than two days you could be entitled to compensation of just over £8 a day. Most of the UK’s big broadband providers are signed up to Ofcom’s auto-compensation scheme, so you should be covered. These rules were relaxed during the pandemic as providers focused on keeping the country running, but from July the scheme will be up and running again.
“If you’re experiencing repeated issues or you’re not happy with your suppliers’ response, do a comparison online and see what alternatives are available in your area.”
According to the Uswitch survey, only one in four customers who experienced an outage complained to their provider about the issue.