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Study to reveal quality of broadband on Channel Islands

Wednesday, April 8th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

An in-depth study is underway on the Channel Islands to assess the quality of residents’ broadband services.

The Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities (CICRA) is carrying out the research to help identify potential issues in the islands’ broadband infrastructure and help operators and governments see where improvements are needed.

The independent study will measure customers’ experience of their fixed-network broadband services using information from 1,000 volunteers across the Channel Islands.

CICRA has commissioned Actual Experience PLC, which will report on the performance of broadband networks in Jersey and Guernsey.

Fixed-network broadband services are delivered to customers through copper, fibre optic and wireless technologies.

The study is looking at services of all providers in the Channel Islands: JT, Sure, and Newtel, YTel and Homenet.

As part of the study, volunteers install a small software package on their computers which runs a series of tests across the network, measuring the results and reporting to a central database.

At the end of a two-month data collection period the software is uninstalled and the results assessed.

CICRA has said it expects to be collecting data in May and June with its report published in July.

'Identify the challenges'

Director Louise Read said: “This is a great opportunity to identify where there may be issues in the islands' broadband infrastructure which will better inform local operators and governments where improvements could be needed.

“Our aim is to identify issues, understand their causes and, where possible, identify the challenges to improve the experience of all broadband customers across the islands to better meet their needs.”

During the study, data is collected on a confidential basis, with volunteers’ identities known only to CICRA.

The Actual Experience software operates independently of a volunteer’s activities and sends test messages across the networks.

It does not interfere with or track a person’s normal internet usage and cannot see which websites volunteers visit. It will not inspect their emails either.

CICRA said the final report will draw generalised conclusions and will not be specific to individual participants.

CICRA has carried out a series of customer satisfaction surveys looking at mobile, fixed line, and broadband.

The surveys, conducted by Island Analysis, asked 500 islanders in Guernsey and Jersey respectively to give their opinion on the quality of service, billing and the level of customer service from operators.

Another survey is expected to be carried out in May.

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