56% broadband/fiber/DSL users have problems with their connection; 21% claim they have 3 or more issues every month
- ● 70% users surveyed are willing to switch to an alternate service provider for better quality, service or price
- ● 46% users surveyed stated that often the complaint is resolved only after 24 hours
October 12, 2023, New Delhi: Even as telecom majors Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are expected to invest about Rs 75,000 crore in the current financial year to strengthen their fiber networks, consumers are facing major issues with their internet connections due to several factors ranging from infrastructure maintenance to weather conditions.
Bharti Airtel launched ‘Airtel Xstream Fiber’ and Reliance Jio launched ‘Jio AirFiber’ in September as fixed wireless access (FWA) services where rolling out fiber is not possible and as an alternate to fixed line connections. While both Jio and Airtel plan to roll out these FWA services, innumerable subscribers to broadband and fiber services in many cities continue to grapple with poor or unsatisfactory broadband and fiber connectivity and other disruption in services. With hundreds of complaints being received at a national level each month over the last 6 months, LocalCircles conducted a national survey to understand consumer pulse on broadband/fiber/DSL services. Over 51,000 responses were received from broadband/fixed line internet consumers located in 303 districts of India. 67% respondents were men while 33% respondents were women. 46% respondents were from tier 1, 32% from tier 2 and 22% respondents were from tier 3 & 4 districts.
21% fiber/broadband/dsl/fixed line users say they have been facing problems with their internet 3 times or more every month
Given the frequent complaints of consumers about service disruptions, the survey first asked respondents,“If you have a fiber/ broadband/dsl/fixed line connection for the internet at home, how many times in a month do you generally have issues with it?” The query received 13,480 responses out of which 79% shared they have faced issues with the internet at least once or more in a month. The data shows that 58% of respondents have faced issues with the internet at least once or twice in a month; 12% have faced the problem 3-5 times; 6% have had problems 5-10 times and 3% more than 10 times in a month. Only 19% indicated that they have no problems with their internet and 2% gave no clear response. In all, 21% fiber/broadband/dsl/fixed line users say they have faced problems with their internet more than 3 times in a month.
56% fiber/broadband/dsl users surveyed indicated having connection disruption issues or getting speeds lower than what they are promised/paying for
The next survey question asked respondents “If you have a fiber/ broadband/ dsl/ fixed line connection for the internet at home, what is the top issue with it?” Out of 11,672 responses received 56% indicated connection disruption issues and speed being lower than the service paid for. Data shows that 19% of consumers face “frequent disruption”; 37% indicated that the “speed received is much lower than what we are paying for”; 3% shared that they “feel out router is being used by someone else as random websites open up when trying to access internet”; 8% of respondents indicated other issues. However, 30% of respondents to this question admitted to having no issues and 3% indicated “can’t say”.
46% of fiber/broadband/dsl/fixed line internet users say that the service provider generally takes more than 24 hours to resolve the complaint
With use cases like, work, after school classes or entertainment becoming quite common for home internet connections, the connection disruption experience can be troublesome if the service provider is not responsive and prompt in resolution of the problem. The survey next asked users, “How long on average does it typically take for them to resolve internet issues after you have filed a complaint with the service provider? This question received 13,646 responses with 46% of fiber/ broadband/ dsl/ fixed line internet users stating that the service provider takes more than 24 hours to resolve the complaint filed. Data shows, while 41% of respondents indicated that the service provider resolves the complaint/ problem “within 24% hours”; 33% stated that it takes 1-3 days; 6% indicated it takes 4-7 days and 2% of respondents complained that it takes more than 7 days for the problem to be resolved. On the two extremes, 11% of the respondents indicated that they haven’t had any complaints while 5% indicated the problem is never resolved, and in addition 2% of respondents gave no clear response.
70% of consumers are willing to switch to an alternate service provider for better quality, service or price
Consumers are often known to change a service provider if they offer new or better service together with a cost advantage. In the case of fixed line internet services, the survey next asked respondents about their willingness to switch. It asked them, “What is it that will make you switch from your current broadband/fiber/dsl/fixed line service provider to an alternate service provider?” This query received 12,522 responses with 70% of consumers indicating willingness to switch to an alternate service provider for better quality, service or price. Data shows that 31% are willing to be switch to another service provider if assured of “better connection quality and uptime”; 18% are willing to be wooed by “lower monthly price for similar speed/quota connection”; 17% are seeking change if offered “higher speed/ quota for similar monthly price”; 4% are look forward to change for other reasons; 28% of consumers are “happy with my provider and will not switch”; and 2% gave no clear response.
In summary, the 2023 survey finds that 56% users of broadband/fiber/dsl services have had connection or speed issues and 21% of these users have had 3 or more complaints each month. What is worse is that service providers are tardy in rectifying these problems and this was indicated by 46% of the users of these services who stated that often the issue is resolved only after 24 hours of the complaint being filed and resolution in some cases has taken up to 7 days. The challenge now is that with people working from home, children doing after school classes and television and entertainment systems running on fixed line, even a short disruption impacts a household much more than it did previously. The need of the hour is for operators to dedicate more resources to infrastructure maintenance and proactively identifying systemic issues and resolving them while informing all consumers proactively rather than themselves finding out about issues through complaints.
The survey received over 51,000 responses from broadband/fixed line internet consumers located in 303 districts of India. 67% respondents were men while 33% respondents were women. 46% respondents were from tier 1, 32% from tier 2 and 22% respondents were from tier 3 & 4 districts. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants were validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.