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Warning for millions over poor broadband and mobile signal

Mar 30, 2023Mar 30, 2023

EIGHT in ten internet users have experienced "wifi rage" due to slow speeds or outages over the past year.

That equates to more than 21million households who have been left "angry and frustrated" by poor service, according to the research from London-based provider Community Fibre.

For a third of internet users, faults and signal blackouts are causing exasperation on a weekly basis.

Harriet Cooke looks at how to beat broadband signal woes and get a refund for shoddy service.

TRY a free broadband test to check your speed and compare this against what you have been promised by your provider.

The tool at speedtest.net will tell you how fast your connection is at the click of a button.

You should try at peak times in the evening as well as quieter times in the day.

Alex Tofts, broadband expert from Broadband Genie, said: "For a typical two-person household, you should be looking for a minimum speed of 30Mb, adding another 10Mb per user on top of that.

"If you have kids who love gaming or several people wanting to stream TV at the same time in different rooms, you might want to consider something faster."

If you’re not getting the speeds that you were promised, call your supplier.

If they can't fix it within 30 days, you can leave your contract without having to pay an early exit fee, so long as you’re not the one at fault — for example, keeping your router in a cupboard.

When shopping for a new deal, most comparison sites let you see which firms offer the best speeds in your area.

It's worth checking reviews for locally-based fibre-broadband providers as well, as some offer very high speeds and good customer service.

ROUTERS typically have a range of between 20 and 50 metres.

You can help the signal reach all parts of your home by making sure your router is in the right place.

Wifi doesn't travel well through thick walls, so ideally you should keep the gadget in the centre of your home, somewhere fairly high up and close to your computer and TV streaming box.

Avoid keeping it by the window, where you’ll waste signal by broadcasting outdoors, and don't turn it on and off unnecessarily as this slows it down.

You can get faster speeds by using a wire called an ethernet cable from your router to your computer.

You may have one in the box that your router came in, or buy one online for about a fiver.

When using your computer, close down programmes and windows that you are not using, for example, TV streaming apps such as BBC iPlayer and websites that automatically play adverts.

If you’ve got anti-virus software installed, pause security scans until the end of the day before you shut down.

Alex says: "Most wifi routers have two frequencies. You can switch between them in your computer's settings. Search the ‘help’ function to find out how.

"The usual setting is 2.4Ghz, while switching to 5Ghz will deliver faster speeds but at a shorter range so you just need to move your computer closer."

IF you’re struggling to connect to wifi in some parts of your home, try a wireless booster, such as Netgear's one for £25 at Amazon.

Alternatively, use a powerline adapter, which is a cable that carries the signal to different rooms and costs around £35.

If your connection is patchy in some rooms, you could upgrade to what's called a "mesh wifi system", for around £200, which uses different routers and satellites to bounce the signal around the home.

If you tell your supplier that some rooms aren't getting a signal, they may send you a free booster or help you find one that's compatible with your set-up.

Some providers offer services that guarantee wifi coverage throughout your home, like BT's Complete add-on, although it means paying an extra £5 a month.

Nick Hunn, expert at tech consultancy WiFore, says: "If you’ve had your router more than five years, you will probably see an improvement if you replace it with a newer one."

Try asking your supplier for a newer model before you splash out.

But some of the free routers sent out by some suppliers aren't as good as others so it might be worth upgrading if your speeds are still low.

The mid-range TP-Link Archer AX10 (AX1500) router is well-reviewed and costs £60.

IF your broadband is down or slow, report the fault as soon as possible to your provider.

And keep a record of how long your service is down or running slowly.

Ask for a credit on your account to compensate.

Most will automatically give you £9.33 if the service is not fixed two full working days after you report it, and then £9.33 for each full day it is still not fixed after that.

If there are persistent service problems, you may also have the right to leave penalty-free.

MILLIONS of people with older mobile phones could lose internet access as providers start shutting down the 3G internet signal this month.

The move to faster 4G and 5G services could leave 5.5million mobile users unable to get online because their handsets aren't compatible, according to estimates by watchdog Ofcom.

Other gadgets, including some personal alarms for the elderly, also rely on 3G and might stop working.

Vodafone is starting its switch-off this month while EE and Three start next year.

O2 has said it will end 3G before 2033. Smaller providers, such as Giffgaff and Tesco Mobile, piggyback the big four firms and will lose 3G when those networks switch.

For £50, you can buy a basic 4G-compatible smartphone new or a better refurbished model.

The MoneySavingExpert.com mobile finder tool can help you find the right handset for your budget and needs.

Currently, O2 looks like the best bet as it has not set a date for the 3G switch-off yet. If your phone loses access to 3G, you’ll be able to call and text, but you won't be able to get on to the internet.

Telecoms trade body Mobile UK said: "Providers have put in place measures to contact customers to guide them through this transition."

Ofcom said: "We’ve told mobile networks what they should do to ensure support is available to those who need it."

Before choosing a new phone network, use Ofcom's Mobile Checker app to find out which provider offers the best coverage where you live.

CONSTANT broadband blackouts have become the bane of Janine McDonald's life.

The business owner needs a stable internet connection as she runs her decluttering company cleartheclutternow.co.uk from her home.

But she feels like she's been fobbed off by her provider Now Broadband, who she pays £20 a month.

Janine, 52, from Salford, Gtr Manchester, says: "Every time I phone up they get me to run speed tests and turn my router off and on. But I still get outages almost every day, where my signal will go. It's constantly interrupting my work and sometimes I don't realise that important emails haven't been sent because I’ve lost my connection.

"I wish they’d send someone out to check it, but I’m told I’d have to pay a fee for that. I’m at my wits’ end."

Now Broadband said it had run tests several times and concluded there was no fault with its line.

But after Sun Money intervened, it agreed to send out an engineer to look for the cause of the problems.