Broadband under isolation strain - here’s what you can do to speed it up
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Resolver, a complaints support site, on what people struggling with slow connectivity can do to get help in the current situation.
The impact of the coronavirus has resulted in enormous changes to society, not least for those of us who find ourselves self-isolating or working from home.
Once you’ve settled in then it pays to be aware of other problems that could arise. Some of the nation’s leading broadband providers are warning that there will be an unprecedented strain on their networks due to numerous devices being turned on, TV being streamed and gamers gaming. WiFi networks will also be feeling the pressure too.
MORE: Personal finance: What happens if I can’t pay my car PCP because of coronavirus?Broadband is one of the most complained-about services at Resolver, with cases up by a third to over 22,000 in 2019. By far the biggest issue is broadband speed not delivering, not working at all or regularly packing in.
This is the source of much frustration for you all, given it means waiting in for an engineer for most of the day, not to mention some infuriating call-centre ‘experiences’.
Here are a few tips to help you out (and save a few family arguments).
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• Check your speed.
There’s loads of free apps that you can download that will allow you to check the actual speed of your broadband connection. Our friends at MoneySavingExpert have a great guide on their website covering your options.
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The key thing to do is take a screenshot each time you check on your phone so you’ve got some evidence to back up your complaint.
• Download shows to your computer/phone/tablet.
Don’t wait for the system to go down, use the download function on TV streaming sites to save the programs you love while it’s working!
• Ask for options.
Speak to your broadband provider (send them a tweet or get in touch online if you want to dodge the call centre), you could ask for something to boost the speed, get a reduction in your payments – or they may even have a fix.
• Download the app. Most broadband providers have a handy app that allows you to do speed checks or tells you if there’s work going on in your local area.
MORE: What does the coronavirus mean for my pension?• Give your signal a boost.
There are lots of things you can do to improve your broadband signal, from making sure your router is near the phone line, using cables not WiFi, upgrading your router and reducing the number of electrical items that might be giving off signals nearby.
Even the humble old fish tank can cause problems if it’s got filters and other electrical items plugged in to it.
• Getting techy.
You can get booster boxes and cables from most electronic stores to help you with your signal problem.
Your broadband provider will also provide these but ask any engineer who pops round and they’ll tell you to buy them from a different store or online as they’ll be much cheaper.
Most of these boosters are designed to improve your WiFi signal around the house, but some also help improve your broadband speed.
Check before you buy to make sure the goods do what you need them to.
• Take it higher.
Still not happy? Resolver can help you make a complaint, but it pays to set out your argument in simple terms.
If you want out of the contract, provide proof of the poor service and the efforts you’ve made to sort it out.
This is where those screenshots you’ve taken come in helpful.
• Be nice.
This pandemic is putting a huge strain on everyone. So it will take longer to sort out problems. Stay calm and say thanks.
It can make all the difference to the person stuck on the end of the phone or manning the emails and social media.