The UK is currently in the vice-like grip of the worst cost of living crisis in over 50 years, with the average worker now being £11,500 a year worse off.

It is no surprise, therefore, that people are taking to the internet in their thousands to research what exactly that means for them and, of course, look for ways to mitigate it. What is surprising, though, is where those people are focusing their cost-cutting efforts.

Here’s what our research found about UK broadband and the cost of living crisis:

Key Research: Cost of Living & UK Broadband

Google searches for “cost of living” in the UK are currently at their highest point since records began, seeing a 427% rise since April last year, with 59,000 searches in the past month alone.

This was somewhat expected, given that Google did not exist last time the country faced a crisis of this magnitude. But rather more surprising was the corresponding increase in people searching for broadband deals in the UK.

Broadband Deals Google Trends Data 2021-22 Cost of Living and Broadband Deals

Even more poignant was the fact that broadband overtook every other household bill we looked into, including energy, as the number one target for those seeking deals.

Google Trends Data Graph Showing Most Searched Broadband Deals vs Energy Deals vs Phone Bills

What This Means For UK Broadband Customers

Our research comes at a time when all of the major internet service providers are increasing their prices by up to £43 per year. 

ISP In-Contract Price Increases, At A Glance

  • Virgin – 4%
  • Sky – 5%
  • BT, TalkTalk, Vodafone – up to 9%
  • Air Broadband – N/A (yes, really – you pay what you sign up for! Use our handy postcode checker to see if you can make the switch today).

Check Your Postcode

According to our calculations this means that the increase the major providers are springing on their customers is almost equivalent to paying for an extra month of broadband, every year.

To put that further into perspective, this means customers on an average £30-a-month broadband plan will find themselves paying £33.48 a year more. While those paying £50 a month will see an increase of almost £56.

Monthly Yearly Broadband Rise Costs 2022

This month, as those bills begin to rise and the cost of living crisis takes hold, combined data from Twitter, Reddit and Quora show an increase in social media conversations surrounding cheaper broadband and broadband deals in the UK compared to last month.

75% Increase in Online conversations about cost in living rises stat

This has also been reflected in traditional media, with an increase of more than 80% in news articles discussing how to save money on broadband.

Stat: 80% increase in news articles on how to save money on broadband.

Brits, Bills and Broadband?

Ultimately, when faced with the need to cut costs, it seems Brits are looking to their broadband. 

At a time when energy bills are skyrocketing by almost £700 a year for many families, a fact which is highlighted almost daily in the news, it almost seems bizarre that broadband is so far ahead of energy in terms of those searching for new deals. 

It can be assumed, though, that this is simply because all energy providers are increasing their tariffs similarly. Knowing that there is not much they can do to drive down costs in that area, they are looking elsewhere.

Paying More For Less?

So with energy having a much bigger impact on our wallets and a much louder presence in the news, why are people focusing on broadband when it comes to searching for better deals?

Simply put, you are sick of paying more for less. 

Search trend data suggests that while prices are increasing, the quality of the service you get for your money is going downhill fast (well, at least it’s doing something fast)

Outages and faults are happening more frequently than ever. In fact, all of the major providers are seeing an increase in searches relating to their internet service being down. 

Around 6000 people per month take to Google to query what’s going on with their internet service. And that figure increases year by year. Sky saw the biggest increase by far, with a 16% rise in people searching “Sky internet down” vs last year. 

However, all of the major providers appear to be driving discontent in the UK broadband sphere.

Internet Down Searches Sky, BT, Virgin

And that’s not all…

We found that outages and unsatisfactory service account for the majority of search terms surrounding many of the major providers! 

Analysis of searches including the term “EE broadband” revealed that one of the overall most searched terms was “ee broadband down” with 5.4k searches. And “how to cancel ee broadband” was the second most searched question.

Meanwhile, 3 of the top 5 searched questions about “Virgin Media” are negative – the top two being “is Virgin Media down right now” and “is Virgin Media down in my area?”. Between them, they bring in around 16,500 total searches.

And things are no better over at BT; “how to cancel BT broadband” and “is there a fault with BT broadband in my area?” feature in the top 5 queries involving them.

It is no surprise, then, that consumers are exploring their options. How is it fair that an increasingly less affordable service is also increasingly less satisfactory?

With this in mind, we delved further and found that price is definitely not the only factor in this trend. This month has seen a 19% increase in searches for “better broadband”. As well as a whopping 158% increase for “fast broadband deals”, which shows that people are demanding not only lower costs but better, faster internet! 

Paying Less For More?

But unexpected price rises are just part and parcel of these contracts, right? 

Not necessarily. 

As well as super-fast fibre broadband, we can offer you peace of mind.

The four biggest broadband providers all supply their services via BT Openreach and are therefore under certain obligations and agreements that Air Broadband are not, since we work with new fibre infrastructure. 

This means that we can promise Air Broadband customers no unexpected in-contract price rises!

Get in touch today to see if you can join the broadband revolution.