60% of fixed broadband speeds lower than advertised, MCA survey reveals

While most household respondents were unaware that they could test their download speeds via online applications, 60% of respondents who did test it found that it was lower than the one advertised by their service provider

60% of people who tested their fixed broadband’s speeds found that their actual speed test was lower than the one advertised by their service provider, the latest Malta Communications Authority survey has revealed.

Household respondents were generally unaware that they could test their download speeds via online applications, MCA said, with only 18% of respondents with a fixed broadband connection saying they have actually carried out a test to determine whether they were actually getting the advertised download speed.

The MCA published findings of a survey gauging consumer perceptions based on their experiences of fixed broadband services offered in Malta. The survey revealed that 94% of households have access to fixed broadband.

The total percentage of households who claimed to have access to fixed broadband increased by 17% since the 2015 survey and only 6% of household respondents said that they do not have access to fixed broadband, as the service is unnecessary or ‘too complicated to use’.

Moreover, the majority of respondents not having a fixed broadband connection stated that they would not be purchasing a connection over the next six month period.

The variables assessed included the level of satisfaction with the products and services being purchased, the sensitivities to price changes and switching providers, and the overall experience with customer care related to faults.

The survey, which was limited to residential users, was carried out by Grant Thornton via telephone interviews. A total of 903 randomly selected respondents participated in this survey.

When it comes to concerns related to purchasing a fixed broadband service, 37% of respondents felt the price was a main factor, followed by internet download speed at 32%. 22% of household respondents also said that the availability of fixed broadband in a bundle was important in their purchase choice.

Despite download speed ranking second in priority as a factor influencing type of fixed broadband purchase, only 28% of respondents with a fixed broadband connection said they were aware of the headline download speed supported by their connection. A lack of awareness of headline download speeds has been observed consistently even in surveys carried out in 2013 and 2015. Nevertheless, the 2017 figure concerning headline download speed awareness represents an improvement, up from 19% in 2013.

Compared to 2015, the 2017 survey findings also revealed a big rise in the proportion of households owning fast and ultra-fast broadband connections. In the former case, a 23 percentage point increase has been registered, whilst in the latter case an 18 percentage point increase was recorded.

46% of household respondents were unable to identify their monthly expenditure on their fixed broadband service. MCA said the main reason for this lack of knowledge stems from the fact that generally respondents purchase their fixed broadband service in a bundle, which makes it difficult to identify the monthly financial outlay per service in a bundle.

Respondents said that they are generally satisfied with the service being provided by their operator. Indeed, 53% of respondents said they were satisfied with their fixed broadband service and an additional 28% said they were highly satisfied. Overall, this represents an improvement of 2 percentage points on the number of satisfied households when compared with 2015, with only 3% saying they were dissatisfied wit their service.

On the other hand, 47% of respondents claimed to have reported at least one fault with their fixed broadband connection in the span of 12 months, an increase of 12 percentage points when compared to the corresponding 2015 survey finding.

Nevertheless, 69% of respondents that encountered faults throughout this period feel that their reported fault was addressed in a satisfactory manner and were satisfied with how their service provider handled the matter.

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