Christmas tree fairy lights ‘could slow down broadband speeds’

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A communications watchdog has warned that Christmas trees fairy lights could lead to slower the speeds of broadband.

Ofcom predicted that up to six million offices and homes could improve their broadband connection as “interference” from other devices slowed down wireless networks.

It cited electronic goods such as microwave ovens, baby monitors and even festive fairly lights as possible causes for slower broadband speeds.

As it launched a new app, the warning came, to test Wifi connections in homes.

The free Wi-Fi Checker app lets owners to check the quality of their internet signal and advises ways to enhance it, for smartphones and tablets.

In an upsurge from six million last year to 7.5 million ménages, Ofcom also launched research which found other than a quarter of homes in the UK have “superfast” broadband connection of more than 30MB per second.

The regulator found that higher-speed broadband is available in fewer than two in five homes in rural areas.

This was often because caused by remote houses “lying further from the network’s local street cabinet or local telephone exchange”, Ofcom said.

Small businesses were struggling in particular with slower connections, as almost half are unable to achieve more than 10MB per second, and the watchdog estimated that by 2017 around 18 per cent will still be unable to access superfast services.

And a figure which rises to nearly half of houses in rural areas, around eight per cent of households – about 2.4 million – cannot receive a connection with speeds of more than 10MB per second.

According to the report, a 10MB per second connection was a “tipping point” above which customers rated their broadband as “good”.

Meanwhile, “ultrafast” broadband, with speeds of more than 300MB per second, was available to around 500,000 homes in the UK.

With data use on mobile growing at a faster rate than on fixed wireless networks mobile 4G coverage has also improved across the major networks from 44 per cent in 2014 to 73 per cent this year.

“Mobile and broadband have become the fourth essential service, alongside gas, electricity and water. There’s been a technological revolution over recent years, with 4G mobile and superfast continuing to extend across the country, said Ofcom chief executive, Sharon White.

 

 

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