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Family Arguments Over Broadband Rise During COVID-19 Crisis

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 (1:30 am) - Score 2,421

A new online survey of 2,005 UK people has found that 36% of “millennials” who live with a partner have had an argument over who is to blame for slow broadband since the COVID-19 lockdown began. Likewise it’s a similar story in millennial family homes, with 33% bickering with their parents or children.

The survey, which was conducted by Atomik Research on behalf of Moneyexpert.com, noted that 51% of Brits are using the internet to keep in touch with loved ones, to entertain themselves (55%) and to keep up with the ever-changing news (61%) during the crisis.

Despite this the survey claims that the “biggest broadband frustrations for the millions of Brits” now working from home include an inconsistent connection (22%), slower downloads (18%) and the internet cutting out for no reason at all (18%). Virtual video meetings were also allegedly found to be “causing the biggest headache for homeworkers,” with 42% missing meetings due to a poor internet connection.

Sadly the survey, like so many others before it, misses an opportunity to delve more deeply into the problems. For example, it would be useful to examine whether the performance and connectivity issues are related to their broadband ISP or something more common, such as slow WiFi, local network issues or a poor choice of internet package (e.g. picking a cheaper and slower option when something faster was available).

NOTE: A third said they had tried the classic method of turning the router off and on again to resolve their problems (unwise to do this on ADSL or VDSL [FTTC] lines as it may be perceived as a fault and drop your speeds).

Ultimately if one positive does come out of the COVID-19 crisis then it may be to encourage more people to think seriously about how much broadband speed they actually need at home, which could help to facilitate future upgrades and thus a rise in demand for even faster connectivity.

Leave a Comment
11 Responses
  1. Avatar CarlT

    This ia why pretty much the moment gigabit became available it was ordered.

  2. Avatar JamesW

    Been having a few users, complaining about using RDS servers. With lag and general unresponsiveness.
    It’s the only thing that us (IT) don’t have control over.

    • Avatar CarlT

      With time and cash can you switch away from RDP to using laptops and cloud services to remove the real-time requirement?

  3. Avatar Billy bob

    I bet most of these issues are WiFi not the actual broadband.

    • Avatar Alex

      Agreed – most ISP supplied routers are not reliable enough in my experience.
      My experience of running with my own SOHO business grade router on a consumer ISP service is great. Never have to reboot the router and performance is consistent.

    • Avatar Roger_Gooner

      Indeed, and a lot of WiFi problems can be avoided by connecting devices such as set top boxes, TVs, games controllers and laptops to routers/hubs with an Ethernet cable.

    • Avatar André

      Could also be issues at the server side, I suppose, as corporate networks are known to be struggling with the sudden increase in outside traffic from all their remote workers…

  4. Avatar craski

    Its amazing how much improvement can be made to a slow connection being shared by a family by using a router that provides functionality like limiting bandwidth of particular devices. Many routers have this but few seem aware of them or know how to configure them.

    In my own experience, teenagers will typically consume as much bandwidth as you can give them access to and apps like Steam are able to utilise multithreaded connections to maximise throughput and can have a noticeable impact on other users. 4k streaming is another huge waste of bandwidth when sharing slow connections and I’ve also found it useful to limit bandwidth that smart TVs and streaming boxes can consume as some of those will take more than their fair share of available bandwidth too.

    • Avatar André

      Alternatively, try using wired Ethernet as much as possible.
      This is easier for Smart TVs and set top boxes or even your desktop computer.
      WiFi should really only be used by devices that need to be portable.

  5. Avatar Brian

    Our family arguments reduced when my daughter went to university and then had access to decent broadband.
    Though it would be nice if we could get the speeds the BT’s USO checker seems to think we have

  6. Avatar Mark

    Openreach should increase the FTTC speed during Covid-19. The 17A profile can in theory reach 100/30 but instead the fastest package they sell is 80/20. All these video calls rely heavily on upload rather than download so that extra 10Mb would be a very welcome upgrade to anyone living close to the cab

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