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Hyper-fast broadband planned for millions – how to get the best service NOW!

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
Nov 22, 2016

Over £1 billion will be spent to bring the ‘gold standard’ of hyper-fast broadband to millions of homes and businesses, the government will announce tomorrow.

Chancellor Philip Hammond will make the announcement in the Autumn Statement.

There will also be a big push to push up broadband speeds for all after fears that the UK is falling behind the best and fastest broadband available globally and this will cause the economy to suffer.

The plan is to give at least two million more businesses and homes a full-fibre service, providing speeds of over 1Gb per second.

Here’s what 1Gbs a would do:

* Download Tolstoy's War and Peace: 0.002 secs (2mbps: 1 sec)
* Download a 45-minute album: 0.05 secs (2mbps: 26 secs)
* Download a 90-minute HD film: 3 mins 36 secs (2mbps: 30hrs)
* A full box-set TV series downloaded in under 60 seconds.

Currently, only 2% of homes and businesses have access to full-fibre broadband.

Under the new programme £400m will go into a new Digital Investment Fund to incentivise providers to start offering users the fastest internet connections available.

Another £740 million will go on trials of 5G internet and a new programme to allow councils to bid for fibre broadband connections.

This will allow rural communities to get access to the fastest broadband speeds, it’s hoped.

The Government also plans to bring in a Universal Service Obligation – this will force BT to provide everyone in the UK with at least 10mbps broadband by law.

This speed allows users to stream two videos and send and receive emails simultaneously.

The UK already lags behind many countries in broadband speeds and the roll out of full-fibre.

Latvia has 20% coverage, Mexico 10%+, Turkey has double the coverage of the UK and South Korea – the unrivalled world leader in superfast broadband – has already unveiled plans to introduce speeds of 10Gbs. 

 

How to check what your WiFi is delivering …

Ofcom, the industry regulator, offers an excellent app that can be used on smartphones and tablets that allows users to reveal how good their service is.

Research by the watchdog has found that WiFi may work sub-optimally in almost 6 million homes and offices.

The reason is often caused by the set up of WiFi.

Something as simple as other devices causing interference can have a dramatic effect of the speed and quality of WiFi. 

A microwave oven, baby monitor, even Christmas fairy lights can have an effect, so too can the position and angle of a receiving device.

 

And what to do if it’s not …

There are a few initial actions you can take to speed things up.

Move your router away from electrical devices: Halogen lamps, electrical dimmer switches, stereo or computer speakers, fairy lights, TVs and monitors and AC power cords have all been known to cause interference to broadband routers.

Keep your router as far away as possible from other electrical devices, as well as those that give off wireless signals, such as baby monitors, for example.

Try positioning your router in different places in the home: Walls and furniture in the house can act as an barriers to the WiFi.

Primarily, routers should be kept in a central position in the home and placed on a table or shelf rather than on the floor.

If the service is poor, try the old trick of turning your router on and off. As a result the router may automatically select a better WiFi frequency.

If your device has an ethernet cable port and you are close enough to the router, always choose this way to connect to the internet as it will provide a faster and and much more stable connection.  

Once you have set things up so they appear to be working efficiently, don’t assume that is that.

The factors that affect WiFi can change over time.

Ofcom suggests users try running its WiFi Checker in different rooms and at the times of day when you're most likely to use the internet.

If you aren't getting the internet speeds you pay for, do something about it

 

Don’t trust advertised speeds

One of the big changes the advertising watchdog is making is the way internet providers mislead the public over potential speeds.

If a mere 10% of users can obtain a certain network speed the provider is able to claim you will get speeds of ‘up to …’.

The truth is there is a good chance you will not obtain these speeds.

There are various speed testers available online, including BT’s.

But you really want a tester that compares what you’re getting in upload and download speeds compared to the rest of your area.

Ookla’s speedtest.net is good. 

Remember, when conducting a test, though, that download speed will always be much higher than upload – this is normal.

An excellent way to compare what speed you’re getting to others in your area is to use Ofcom’s Broadband Checker.

After you’ve check your own speed and made a note of it, simply enter your post code to see what the average standard broadband and Superfast Broadband is (if available).

And, of course, another way not only to optimise speed but also ensure you’re getting the best value for money is to switch to the best internet provider package available.

Use our comparison tool here.

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