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CICRA disappointed with number of volunteers for broadband services study

The Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities (CICRA) has expressed its disappointment with the response to its call for volunteers for a study of broadband services in the Channel Islands.

The comprehensive study, announced in March, is designed to identify issues in the islands’ broadband infrastructures to assess where improvements can be made. To ensure robust results at least 1,000 participants from across Guernsey and Jersey are required – a figure that CICRA says has not been achieved.

CICRA chief executive, Michael Byrne, said that the low participation numbers were surprising in light of how vocal the public has been about broadband experiences.

“We frequently come across feedback from members of the public, offering their perceptions on how broadband services could be improved or simply wanting to understand the issues involved. This study was commissioned as a response to this, offering a way to formally document this feedback and potentially lead to positive change.

“If a formal study highlights a justifiable set of issues, CICRA can influence change through setting standards or reaching out to policy makers and customers. We cannot do this based on anecdotal evidence alone.

“Without this properly researched feedback from broadband customers, it will be impossible for CICRA to explore ways to improve these services. To make this study viable we need the support of at least 500 more participants than we currently have.  We are appealing to anyone who thinks they can help to participate.

“It would be a shame to abandon the project altogether but if we look at this from another perspective, we could infer that the majority of islanders are completely satisfied with their broadband services and therefore have no need to report their
feedback,” he said.

CICRA is also encouraging some of those who have volunteered for the questionnaire to complete the process by downloading the Actual Experience software, which monitors their broadband usage from their home computer over a two-month period.

The study is looking at the services of all fixed-network broadband providers in the Channel Islands: JT, Sure and Newtel/YTel/Homenet. Fixed-network broadband services are delivered to customers through copper, fibre optic and WiMax technologies.

The Actual Experience software does not monitor the volunteer’s activity; it uses the volunteer’s hardware to run its own diagnostics to assess speeds and quality of service. Data will be collected confidentially and not shared with the operators themselves. The final report will draw generalised, anonymised conclusions.

Volunteers in either island can register their interest through an online questionnaire on the CICRA website where further details can also be found. Alternatively you can visit CICRA’s Facebook page.

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