Published: 15/03/2021
  • Nearly half of households (48%) have experienced internet connectivity problems during lockdown 
  • Nearly a third (29%) of households have experienced work disruptions due to internet problems, and online schooling has been disrupted in nearly a fifth (18%) of households 
  • Internet issues have caused family rows for over one in ten (15%) households 

16 March 2021: With the UK in a national lockdown and many working and learning from home, poor internet connection has been a source of tension for many households. Over one in ten households have experienced family rows over internet connectivity issues, according to new research from

Over a third (38%) of households have more people needing to use the internet during working hours than before the pandemic. This is putting pressure on broadband speeds and has caused internet connectivity problems for one in two (48%) households.

With more people working from home and completing home schooling online, being able to access the internet is more important than ever. The research however found that nearly a third (29%) of households have experienced work disruptions due to internet problems, and online schooling has been disrupted in 18% of households.

Problems experienced include slow internet (29%), issues with the internet cutting out (18%), slower download speeds (17%), and losing connection during online calls and meetings (13%).

As a result of connectivity problems during lockdown, 16% of households have had to put in place measures such as limiting who can use the internet and for how long each day. On top of this, a similar number (15%) of people have not been able to speak with family and friends. However, issues accessing the internet have led to 16% of households taking up more activities with don’t require connectivity, such as reading and board games.’s research also finds that broadband bills have become more expensive for 1 in 10 households during lockdown. Despite this, families have not switched broadband provider for an average of two years and seven months, and nearly a quarter (24%) of households have never switched broadband provider.

Households can use a broadband speed test to compare their internet connection against different providers in their area. To understand more about how to improve your broadband speed, has some help and advice here.

Holly Niblett, head of digital at,  said:  
“With the UK in lockdown, our research shows that working from home and home schooling has put severe strain on internet bandwidth and this has very real consequences for families trying to live, work and learn together. Since it is more important than ever to have uninterrupted access to the internet, and working from home patterns are set to continue even after the gradual rollout of the vaccine, we recommend that households review their broadband package and shop around to ensure that they can find a deal with a speed that is right for them.” 


Notes to editors

Censuswide survey on behalf of of 2,000 UK internet bill decision makers between 12th – 17th February 2021.

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