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Nothing is more annoying than home internet outages, and now there’s a study that proves it

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 9:00PM EST
Home Internet Service

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You toss a packet of popcorn into your microwave and drop a bag of chamomile slowly into a mug of hot water. The couch is calling your name as the microwave begins beeping to let you know that the piping hot buttery popcorn inside is ready to be devoured. With your popcorn bowl overflowing in one hand and your favorite mug in the other, you make your way to the living room and plop down on the couch with your family.

You turn on the TV as they attack the popcorn, and you navigate to the Netflix icon on your screen. But wait. Something is wrong. Netflix is stuck on the loading screen and it just won’t seem to open. Then, it hits you: Your home internet service is down.

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As a long-time Time Warner Cable subscriber, I’m all too familiar with the aggravation brought about by broadband service outages. When you just want to relax after a long day at work or school, service outages can completely ruin your evening. I also work from home quite often, and I’m forced to tether to my smartphone all the time when my home internet cuts out.

We all know this pain quite well indeed. What you might not know, however, is just how annoying people find broadband outages to be.

The results of a study conducted by British broadband service comparison site suggest that among the most annoying problems people are forced to deal with regularly, internet service outages are the most aggravating problems one can have. They’re more annoying than a car breakdown, more annoying than transit delays, and even more annoying than having to deal with rude customer service.

Of course here in America, broadband outages and rude customer service often go hand in hand.

The study polled 2,500 UK residents and asked them to rate their level of annoyance in a variety of situations on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is not at all annoyed and 10 is as annoyed as one can possibly be.

When people were asked how annoying they found it when their broadband connection drops out, a whopping 49.94% of those polled ranked it a 10. The average level of annoyance for home internet outages worked out to 8.55, handily topping car breakdowns (7.71), water heater failures (8.04) and waiting for a delivery that never arrives (7.43).

Not even having to deal with rude customer service reps was found to be as annoying as broadband outages. 23.88% of respondents gave bad customer service a rating of 10, and its average rating was 7.54.

“Go back ten years and very little of our work lives, social lives and downtime depended on a stable broadband connection,” said editor Dan Howdle. “These days, for many of us, the variety of uses – some vital, others recreational or social – for a home broadband connection is extraordinary. Many of us have become dependent.”

He continued, “When we lose our internet connection, we lose much of our ability to engage within our social sphere. We are cast outside of it without even the ability to look in.”

The complete results from each question in the study follow below.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.