As more people work from home and businesses deciding this is a new way forward, demand for broadband has seen a significant increase. Major internet providers in the UK have already removed data caps on their fixed-line services amid the coronavirus crisis.
Are you also working from home? Has your business seen that working from home works well?
If you are going to work from home for good, then you need to ensure that your broadband is stable and ready to support your network requirements. For users who feel that their internet speed is not up to par with their need, a series of measures taken by broadband companies and the government might come to aid.
Several regulations that came into force earlier this month granted consumers the right to ask for adequate and reasonably-priced broadband connection. The UK’s broadband universal service scheme helps eligible businesses and households have the legal right to ask for an upgrade if the download and upload speeds are not 10Mbit/s and 1bit/s, respectively.
British Telecom is responsible for most of the UK’s network connections except for the Hull area, which is serviced by KCOM. You can check the BT or KCOM websites to check if you are eligible and other details, including how to apply.
You could also upgrade to get a faster broadband service for your existing connection. In case you already have decent service but costs over £46.10 each month, you can ask for a universal service connection. The threshold is set at £45 as of last year.
A few necessary tests and steps will help ensure that you are ready to work from home for good.
The first thing to do is run a speed test, which you can perform using Speedtest.org or any other reliable speed test website. Run this test at different times during the day for a few days to get an idea of the average speed. If you feel there are issues with connectivity or speed, you can contact your service provider or check if you are eligible for the universal service scheme.
If you have an old router, talk to your provider and check if you can upgrade it. Use an ethernet cable for connecting your computer or laptop rather than WiFi since the wired connection is generally more stable than wireless. Devices like computer speakers, stereo, dimmer switches, and others can also interfere with the router. Keep these electronics as far away from the router as possible.
Any interference along the phone line can also impact broadband speed. Therefore, your home phone socket must be up-to-date, and microfilters are plugged into all the sockets of your home. These microfilters split the broadband and phone signals so that they do not affect each other. Avoid using an extension lead and plug the router into the phone socket directly. If an extension lead must be used, it should be high-quality with minimum length possible.
The majority of the telecom companies have worked with the government to implement measures for ensuring connectivity during the lockdown. These guidelines include the removal of data caps as well as excellent and appropriate support for customers who struggle to pay bills. Mobile service providers have also agreed to roll out generous packages for both mobile and landline connections.
The majority of the companies in the UK have signed up for the scheme, including BT, Sky, Virgin Media, O2, Three, TalkTalk, Vodafone, KCom, Hyperoptic, and Gigaclear. The initiatives announced after talks with the government are additional measures that these companies have undertaken.
As work from home continues to be the norm for at least the remainder of 2020, broadband company resources will be in high demand. Before you reach out to your provider, perform the simple tests to confirm that the issues are beyond resolution by restarting the router or replacing network devices.