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Nearly 15 million consumers have suffered broadband outages lasting three hours or more in the past year — three times higher than the previous 12 months, according to Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service. The average home affected by broadband outages was left offline for more than two days over the course of 12 months.

With millions of people relying on home broadband connections to do their job, the UK lost 16 million working days in the last year to outages. Broadband issues are estimated to have cost the economy almost £5 billion in lost work time.

More than a third of people (36%) turned to their mobile data when an outage struck, with almost two thirds of those (63%) burning through their whole monthly data allowance. Edinburgh is the UK’s outage capital, with residents suffering the longest time without broadband per person and losing nine million hours of broadband over the year.

The news is a major turnaround from last year’s research, which found that the Scottish capital experienced some of the fewest outages in the UK. Residents of Belfast suffered the shortest amount of downtime, with the city reporting only 11 hours of downtime in 12 months.     

Table: The worst places in the UK for broadband outages 2019-20 vs 2020-21

Rank

City 

Average downtime 2019-20

Average downtime 2020-21

1

Edinburgh

25 hours

175.3 hours

2

Bristol

169 hours

109.3 hours

3

Leeds

13 hours

96.5 hours

4

Sheffield

32 hours

75.3 hours

5

Brighton

89 hours

70.1 hours

6

Birmingham

25 hours

66.8 hours

7

Liverpool

21 hours

59.5 hours

8

Southampton

26 hours

45 hours

Source: Uswitch.com

Despite the inconvenience, only four in ten customers who experienced outages complained to their provider about the issue. However, more than a third (37%) of frustrated Britons are tempted to switch broadband providers because of the issue..

Uswitch.com is offering advice to consumers for when they suffer an outage and what they can do if they experience persistent problems. When an outage strikes, many people can wait hours for their connection to come back, without realising that there are steps they can take to help mitigate problems, such as tethering to your phone. 

Ernest Doku, broadband expert at Uswitch.com, comments: “Outages have affected the country like never before over the past 12 months, with three times as many people complaining of a lost connection than in the previous year.

“This report covers the first full year of lockdown measures, in which millions of home-workers and home-schoolers have experienced internet outages when they would usually have been at their workplaces or in school. When you’re trying to get things done, not being able to stay connected can be infuriating, and made worse when a provider fails to communicate with their customers properly.

“The first thing to do if you think you’re suffering an outage is to check whether it’s a problem with your router, which can often be fixed with a simple reset. If it’s clear that the issues are beyond your control, contact your provider and they will be able to inform you of any problems in your area and, hopefully, an estimated time for a resolution.

“If your connection goes down for more than two days you could be entitled to compensation of just over £8 a day. Most of the UK’s big broadband providers are signed up to Ofcom’s auto-compensation scheme, so you should be covered.

“These rules were relaxed during the pandemic as providers focused on keeping the country running, but from July the scheme will be up and running again. If you’re experiencing repeated issues or you’re not happy with your suppliers’ response, do a comparison online and see what alternatives are available in your area.”

Flashbulb Games is amped to kick off the season with the release of Rubber Bandits: Summer Prologue, a special playable sneak preview of the studio’s upcoming physics-based multiplayer party brawler. Free to download now on Steam, this intensely amusing action game lets up to four players battle it out in quick matches of fun in the sun with a variety of summer-themed levels, weapons and characters.

Enjoy the simple pleasures of a beach getaway: beautiful sun, warm sands, and bopping your friends in the face for bragging rights. Grab whatever you can get your hands on and use it as a weapon -- the first to three victories wins the summer!

Rubber Bandits: Summer Prologue features:

  • Solo and team-based gameplay: Duke it out in free-for-all or buddy up in 2v2s.
  • No hassle, four-player multiplayer: Battle online or locally, with everyone on one PC.
  • Big summer vibes: Discover holiday-themed characters, levels and items. Pick up everything from dead sharks to beach balls to water guns and more to win!

And all this is just a taste of what’s to come. The complete edition of Rubber Bandits will feature brawl and heist modes, lots of different weapons, destructible levels and more when it officially launches later this year. Players can wishlist the game now on Steam.

Brits are being left out of pocket every year with their mobile phone plans, with almost three quarters (71%) using less data than they actually purchase each month. With the average Brit spending £20 a month for 5GB data, by swapping to a cheaper phone deal they could save between £180 and £60 a year.

New research by mobile sim provider Lebara has revealed that only 10% using all their data each month, Brits are wasting their hard-earned cash each month on data they aren’t using.

Almost two fifths (37%) of Brits revealed that the most important thing for buying a new phone is sticking to a budget, but are being stung by expensive data plans that are wasting their money in the long run. With 32% stuck in a 2-year contract, Brits are losing out on up to £360 for the duration of their phone contract due to wasted mobile data.

Lebara has also revealed the worst regions for data wastage throughout Britain, with Northern Ireland topping the list with over four fifths (84%) not using all their data, closed followed by Wales (80%) and the South West (73%). The North East is the best at using all their data, with 62% wasting their data, followed by Scotland (65%) and London (70%).

With over almost three fifths (59%) of respondents on either Sim-Only or Pay As You Go Contracts, many Brits are shopping around for cheap SIM only deals with 28% main priority for choosing a phone plan is stick within a certain budget each month.

Once their current phone plan runs out, 27% of Brits will get a new contract in order to get the latest handset. However, a quarter of those surveyed will keep their current handset and look for the best SIM only deals on the market, allowing them to cut their data costs and make savings with a new data plan that fits for them.

Rajesh Dongre, Lebara UK Mobile Commercial Director said: “The British public are wasting up to £180 a year on their data plans, but once they are out of their contracts, they can start to shop around and find a plan that works for them. At Lebara we pride ourselves on the fact that our SIM Only deals can be changed every month, giving the flexibility customers deserve when it comes to their mobile plans.”

It seems that we’re a nation that’s glued to their screens, with 48% using their phone the most whilst watching television. 43% use their phone the most when in bed and 17% while on the toilet.

The landline is in terminal decline, with five million households never using theirs for phone calls, reveals research by Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service. The number of homes with a landline has fallen by four million since the year 2000 to about 22 million connections now, down 15% from its peak of being present in 95% of UK homes at the turn of the century. 

However, although 80% of homes have a landline, a quarter (26%) don’t have a handset attached to their landline. More than a third of people (35%) say they only have a landline because it's necessary for having a broadband connection.

On average, households spend just five minutes a day — 35 minutes a week — talking on their landlines, down more than a quarter (27%) from two years ago, when people made 48 minutes of calls a week. Older consumers make 46 minutes of calls a week on their landlines, compared to 25 minutes for young people. Almost three in ten landline users (29%) say the last call they received was suspicious or an unsolicited marketing call, almost two thirds higher than for those on mobile phones (17%). 

While the number of nuisance calls reported has not changed dramatically in recent years, the proportion of scam calls has risen to now make up more than one in four (26%) of unwanted contacts — up from just 4% in 2017. More than a fifth of consumers with a landline (22%) say they avoid answering their phone in case it is a nuisance call, and over a quarter of older people (28%) have had a bad experience with scam and sales callers. 

There’s a generational divide in attitudes to landlines, with their popularity far lower among younger consumers. More than nine in ten (95%) of the over-65s have one, but this falls to four fifths (82%) of consumers aged 35 to 54, and ownership drops to just over half (52%) among 18 to 24-year-olds. Landlines remain a lifeline for residents in rural areas where mobile reception can be poor. More than four fifths of rural households (83%) have a landline, compared to less than two thirds (65%) in urban area].

Surprisingly, landline use has even fallen during lockdown, with more than a quarter of households (27%) using their connection less, compared to only one in seven (15%) using it more frequently. Over a third of households (35%) have registered for the Telephone Preference Service to dodge nuisance calls. Younger consumers have taken more drastic action to avoid such calls, with the most popular option among 18 to 34-year-olds being to stop answering the landline altogether.

Part of the reason for the decline in landline use is that calls are more expensive than on a mobile phone. Almost three fifths of households (59%) that have both a landline and a mobile phone say making a call on a mobile is cheaper. More than a third of landline users (37%) don’t know how much their calls cost[11], and almost a fifth of people (18%) can’t remember the last time they used their landline for a call[12].

Nick Baker, telecoms expert at Uswitch.com, comments: “With the rise of mobile phones and network coverage improving all the time, landlines aren't the necessity they once were.

“Many consumers - especially younger generations - don’t see the need for landlines, and find it odd that they have to pay line rental in order to have a broadband connection. Nuisance calls have been a problem on landlines for years, and unfortunately they are not getting better, with nearly one in four households reporting the last call they received was from a scammer or sales person. 

“However, it isn’t time to forget about the landline just yet, as they continue to be a lifeline for those in rural communities where mobile reception can be unreliable. If you’re struggling with nuisance calls, make sure you have registered for the Telephone Preference Service, which should reduce the amount of sales and marketing calls you receive. And if you suspect you are being targeted by a scammer, hang up immediately.”

Uswitch.com is offering consumers tips on how to avoid nuisance calls and avoid getting conned by scammers.

Saber Interactive and Boss Team Games have released a new gameplay overview trailer for Evil Dead: The Game. Featuring Bruce Campbell as the original boomstick-brandishing, chainsaw-wielding hero Ash Williams, this video is your first major look at the co-op and PvP multiplayer action game, coming later this year to PC, PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. You’ll also get a glimpse of new surprises like Cheryl Williams and Henry the Red as playable characters, plus Ash’s Delta (and yes, you can drive it).

Inspired by the iconic horror, humor, and action of the "Evil Dead" universe, Evil Dead: The Game brings the biggest characters from the franchise together in an over-the-top, gore-filled experience against the forces of darkness. Work as a team of four survivors, including Ash, Kelly Maxwell, Pablo Simon Bolivar, Scotty, Lord Arthur and more, to fight the Deadites and banish the vile Kandarian Demon. Or become the mighty Demon yourself, using your powers of possession to stop the good guys dead and swallow their souls!

Battle across memorable sights from the franchise, including the infamous Knowby cabin, brought to life with tons of terrifying visuals and all-new dialogue from Bruce Campbell. Discover more than 25 weapons, including Ash’s Gauntlet, Boomstick, and chainsaw, and level up a variety of skill trees to grow even stronger and survive the night.

Evil Dead: The Game is a collaboration between Saber Interactive, Boss Team Games, Renaissance Pictures, Creative Licensing on behalf of STUDIOCANAL, leading entertainment company Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), and global content leader Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B). 

Twelve people were fined after they were caught playing dominoes in a restaurant in east London.

Police officers found the group hiding in a dark room when they entered the building in Whitechapel, in the capital. The owner of the restaurant initially claimed those inside were workers, before admitting they were playing the game.

Tower Hamlets Council has been asked to consider issuing a fine to the owner for breaching tier four Covid-19 restrictions, the Metropolitan Police said. A video released by the Met shows the restaurant owner saying: "They're playing dominoes."

Chief Inspector Pete Shaw HQ and Covid Lead Central East BCU (Hackney & Tower Hamlets) said: "The rules under tier four are in place to keep all of us safe, and they do not exempt people from gathering to play games together in basements.

"The fact that these people hid from officers clearly shows they knew they were breaching the rules and have now been fined for their actions."