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Welsh households wasting £18m every month on broadband plans that may not be fit for purpose

Welsh consumers are being urged to focus more on their broadband upload speeds after a survey indicates they could be wasting millions of pounds every month as well as trying to work and stream on unsuitable connections.

Market research undertaken by Voneus, one of the UK’s largest rural broadband specialists, revealed 41 per cent consider working from home to be the main usage of their internet connection, the largest such proportion across the UK.

The pandemic has seen a significant increase in people working from home along with other online activities which demand fast upload speeds.

For Welsh homes, the major uses of a regular home broadband connection include online gaming, uploading files to emails or servers, and video conferencing and calling, with 83 per cent of households participating in at least one of those activities.

However, despite upload speeds becoming ever more crucial, 44 per cent of the 1.25 million households in Wales which have internet access do not know their upload speed.

In addition, only 22 per cent classify it as one of their top three priorities when searching for a new plan, with download speeds, cost, and the time from ordering to installation all considered more important.

While 65 per cent of Welsh households spend £25 per month or more on broadband, consumers as a whole are spending £216 million a year on a service without checking or knowing whether it’s suitable for their modern-day lifestyle.

Naomi Marshall, community engagement team leader in Wales at Voneus, which delivers superfast and ultrafast broadband connections across Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Powys, said: “This research paints an interesting picture about Welsh consumers and where knowledge and priorities lie when it comes to selecting a broadband plan.

“Users have been incorrectly taught for too long that download speeds alone are all that is required for a strong broadband connection.

“In the age of working from home where video conferencing and transferring data-heavy files back and forth have become everyday activities, having a low upload speed is incredibly detrimental to not only the efficiency of your workday, but also the service you are paying for.

“We have particularly seen this in many locations within rural Wales, where low speeds at home simply means work cannot be done online; Voneus is on a mission to change that and provide these hard-to-reach areas with high speeds and strong connections both up and down.

“While some providers such as Voneus provide synchronous speeds ensuring both high-speed uploads and downloads to consumers, many are still lagging behind in ensuring the vital aspect of uploads are accounted for sufficiently.”