New research shows that the number of people who have experienced prolonged broadband outages has doubled to over 21 million.

Uswitch’s annual study on the UK’s internet services found a growing disparity between the reliability of connections in London and other major cities.

The average broadband outage in the capital clocked in at a still frustrating but comparatively small 14 hours.

In contrast, customers in Southampton and Newcastle have had to cope with average internet downtimes of 63 hours and 57 hours, respectively.

Birmingham (47 hours), Liverpool (44 hours) and Nottingham (33 hours) also regularly suffer extended outages.

Uswitch telecoms expert Ernest Doku believes the issues are “not acceptable” in a world where the internet is vital to critical day-to-day tasks.

He urged anyone struggling with poor connections to look elsewhere.

Doku added: “The good news is that there is a lot of competition in the broadband market, including smaller, disruptive providers offering faster speeds at competitive prices.”

Broadband outages are getting worse across the board though.

The number of people affected for three hours or more jumped from 12m a year ago to 21.7m in the latest study.

15% of people say they have been unable to work due to these outages.

More worrying is the fact that 25% have been without connections for a week or more.

While searching for a new provider is the best course of action in the face of intermittent internet problems, Uswitch offered several other tips to beat the blackout.

It recommends updating router settings and opting for a full reset; a basic but often overlooked remedy.

Keeping track of download and upload speeds, and status updates from major providers can also help.

Uswitch says using a mobile hotspot from a nearby iPhone or Android device can also be a short-term crutch too.