Coronavirus: Internet companies agree to drop data caps amid lockdown

[ad_1]

Internet companies are dropping broadband data caps in an attempt to keep people connected through the coronavirus pandemic.

A deal struck between the government and internet companies will see them give users unlimited data allowance on their current services and offer new rates on mobile and landline packages.

The measures come as many people are being forced to work and study from home in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus, and vulnerable people rely on their internet connections for shopping and communications through the lockdown.


They are among a range of immediately effective measures which have been signed up to by major internet service and mobile providers including BT/EE, Openreach, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, O2, Vodafone, Three, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, and KCOM.

The companies have pledged that anyone who is struggling to pay their bill due to the pandemic will be treated fairly and appropriately supported, the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Department said.

The firms have also agreed to offer some new, generous mobile and landline packages to ensure people are connected and the most vulnerable continue to be supported.

These could put users in line for packages featuring data boosts at low prices and free calls from their landline or mobile.

Vulnerable customers or those who are self-isolating, who are faced with priority repairs to fixed broadband and landlines which cannot be carried out, should be given alternative methods of communication wherever possible, the companies said.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “It’s fantastic to see mobile and broadband providers pulling together to do their bit for the national effort by helping customers, particularly the most vulnerable, who may be struggling with bills at this difficult time.

“It is essential that people stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. This package helps people to stay connected whilst they stay home.”

Watchdog Ofcom’s chief executive Melanie Dawes said: “We recognise providers are dealing with unprecedented challenges at the moment.

“So we welcome them stepping up to protect vulnerable customers, at a time when keeping in touch with our friends and families has never been more important.”

Executives from the firms said there has never been a more important period for people to stay connected, adding that during the current uncertainty nobody should have to worry about how to keep in touch with friends and loved ones.

Their companies would work tirelessly to keep the country connected, they said.

Marc Allera, chief executive of BT’s Consumer division, said: “During this national and global crisis, our priorities are the safety of our colleagues and ensuring that our customers, particularly those that are vulnerable, stay connected.”

Openreach chief executive Clive Selley said: “Thankfully a large amount of the work we do – including fixing faults, adding capacity and building faster, more reliable full fibre networks – can be completed outside, so you’ll still see Openreach engineers working to maintain service across the UK.”

Additional reporting by agencies

[ad_2]

WiFi slow, failing to join or unreliable? How to make sure your internet relationship is as fantastic as doable as you perform from residence throughout coronavirus lockdown

[ad_1]

As individuals across the earth keep at home in an endeavor to stop the distribute of coronavirus, lots of are discovering by themselves especially pissed off by problems with web relationship and wifi dropouts.

Relying on the web for doing work, researching and entertainment can really swiftly exacerbate any troubles you may well constantly have had with the velocity or dependability of your world wide web connection. But there are some variations you can make that may well make your link faster and far more trustworthy.

A quantity of points make a decision your internet velocity, which you are not able to do everything about. If you are a extensive way from the telephone exchange, for instance, there’s really tiny you can do apart from shift dwelling or hope that the infrastructure is up-to-date.


But you can find lots more aside from that that you can in fact do anything about. Primarily when it comes to your device’s relationship to your router – rather than your router’s link to the earth – some smaller tweaks can make a world of variation.

The desire take care of for a poor wifi connection is not to rely on wifi at all, as a lot as probable. If you can, try plugging in by way of your ethernet link relatively than wirelessly – that will do absent with any troubles of interference and really should velocity up your link to the router.

In lots of conditions, on the other hand, that will not be attainable. Several times it is unattainable to drill via walls and run cables all all-around your flat or residence, and many units – this sort of as telephones – don’t have any place to plug in an ethernet relationship in any case.

In that circumstance, the ideal reaction is basically to guarantee that the wifi signal can get to your device as cleanly as possible.

In get to do this, the initial matter to do is to find just about anything that might be interfering with your wifi sign. This can be just about nearly anything: specified kinds of lamps, dimmer switches, speakers, energy cords and specifically microwaves can get in the way.

Anybody else attempting to use the wifi will also be combating for your relationship, so see what you can do to restrict that as a lot as attainable. Put a password on your router so that strangers are not capable to squat on your network and borrow your bandwidth, and make sure that any one carrying out weighty function on the computer system – such as downloading huge data files or taking part in games – tries to do so at situations when the desire isn’t way too higher.

If all of that does not perform, then it could possibly be time to insert some new components. By offering your router a strengthen, you really should be in a position to increase the connection and velocity you get, in flip indicating you can get the job done, stream and do anything else on your network far more speedily.

Enhance your router

Most folks are now making use of the router that came from their internet service supplier. That is commonly a reasonable choice, given the extra controls which will come with having a standalone unit are mainly unneeded.

But it does suggest that you will find rather minor you can do if you want to enhance your community, given that you are at the behest of what ever your internet services provider chose to give to you. There are a whole host of third-party routers out there on the market – from cheap options like this TP-Hyperlink device to hulking, speedy devices that can price tag hundreds of kilos and have a tendency to resemble alien spiders, this kind of as Netgear’s Nighthawk variety.

Quite a few routers now present the possibility to have a mesh network close to your home – indicating that the distinctive units will converse to each other and share out the community. These kinds of selections consist of the Eero routers that are now owned by Amazon and Google’s Nest WiFi.

Changing your router is a great concept if you are heading to be using it for superior-performance circumstances where by it demands to be trustworthy, these types of as intensive online gaming. But it may well be more hassle than it is well worth if you are merely locating by yourself pissed off with your coverage, and there may perhaps be easier alternatives.

Your net business could supply one thing very similar, also. Sky, for occasion, lets you acquire boosters that will connect to your router and assistance fling the wifi link further throughout the dwelling.

Or give it a boost

If you would want to continue to keep your current router – mainly because it is mandated – then a further alternative is to assist it out. With wifi boosters or powerline extenders, you can hold your present router but insert further points for your cell phone, computer system and whatever else to connect.

Wifi extenders occur in a selection of designs, measurements and charges, but the theory is largely the exact same – they plug into the wall, ordinarily attaching them selves to the socket, borrow the exact wifi relationship and options and push it additional out into the household. You can locate them reasonably cheaply online.

Powerline lets you to borrow the cables that are now all over your residence, and send out your searching knowledge by means of them. It can be a fantastic solution in residences that are more substantial or have thick partitions, where by a wifi extender may well not be in a position to attain. The connection is not normally as fast as that despatched by means of a committed cable, but it is much a lot easier to set together.

Powerline connectors can be acquired for fairly cheap, even though it depends on how lots of extenders you want. The Independent has had superior success with TP-Link’s adaptor, which comes in a variety of various sets relying on your setup.

IndyBest product assessments are impartial, independent assistance you can trust. On some events, we gain income if you simply click the inbound links and purchase the merchandise, but we in no way allow this to bias our protection. The critiques are compiled through a combine of pro impression and serious-globe testing.

[ad_2]

British isles coronavirus lockdown has led daytime web utilization to extra than double, Virgin Media states

[ad_1]

The UK’s coronavirus lockdown has about doubled the UK’s internet usage for the duration of the day, according to Virgin Media.

End users are both receiving and sending significantly much more data throughout the daytime than common, the community says.

The amplified targeted traffic will come as quite a few folks are operating or studying from home in an try to end the unfold of coronavirus.

But the firm claims that the improved targeted traffic is even now less than the community has to offer with in the evenings, and that it carries on to cope with the added desire.


The world-wide-web company explained downstream broadband targeted traffic – web written content acquired by end users on their products – was up 90% on Monday, the initial day of college closures, compared with two months ago.

Upstream visitors – data sent by people when making use of programmes such as video clip phone calls – is also up all through the working day, far more than doubling in the latest weeks, Virgin Media said.

Web service suppliers have said their networks are sturdy sufficient to tackle the boosts in targeted visitors for the duration of the Covid-19 lockdown nonetheless, some online video clip solutions, including Netflix and YouTube, have begun restricting video clip stream bitrates in an endeavor to simplicity any network pressure.

Jeanie York, Virgin Media’s chief technology and information officer, mentioned the increase is even now below the targeted traffic levels the agency encounters in its traditional evening peak.

“Our network is constructed to face up to this day-to-day evening peak, and proper now is easily accommodating this daytime increase.”

Ms York explained the maximize in upstream website traffic is joined to additional men and women doing the job from home, and the mounting craze of video conferencing during social distancing.

“This has mostly been triggered by additional and much more folks functioning from household and sending information and information again to company networks,” she said.

“This targeted visitors is raising all through the working day and continuing into the night, with peak upstream site visitors up all over 25% on the preceding 7 days, exhibiting people today are operating later on or joining conference phone calls with mates and household.

“Our network has enough ability to take care of this increased desire.”

Video clip conferencing applications and apps, these kinds of as Skype, Zoom and Houseparty, have acquired new waves of attractiveness as workers use them to continue to be in contact with colleagues even though aside, and people and friendship teams all attempt to keep in touch.

The internet supplier also mentioned it is presently looking at some familiar styles regardless of the altering conditions.

“Upstream traffic is dipping slightly at lunchtime as remote personnel end for lunch and yet again at 5.30pm when folks log off for the day,” Ms York reported.

“We’re also seeing evidence of people today remaining at property and social distancing, with community demand from customers up at the weekend. Upload facts spiked on Mothering Sunday as numerous households held online video calls with beloved ones.”

According to its figures, traffic also sharply dropped 10% on Monday evening as people place down their devices to listen to Primary Minister Boris Johnson converse – exactly where the current degree of lockdown was declared.

The range and length of landline calls have also greater in the last 7 days, the corporation stated.

On the other hand, Virgin Media said the present traffic increases has “however not pushed up need to the ranges noticed throughout recent pc match releases or when multiple Premier League video games ended up streamed simultaneously”.

“Inspite of increased info use on our community, we’re not at capability and are continuing to provide our clients with the ultrafast and dependable providers they count on,” Ms York mentioned.

Additional reporting by agencies

[ad_2]

Coronavirus: How to improve your internet speed when working from home according to Ofcom

[ad_1]

With millions of people across the country staying at home amid the UK coronavirus lockdown, broadband and mobile networks have found themselves under increased demand. 

From remote working to home schooling, the number of households attempting to access the internet at the same time is causing connections to perform at slower speeds. 

But, there are things people can do to ensure everyone in the home gets the bandwidth they need, whether it is for video streaming or virtual calls.


On Wednesday, media regulator Ofcom published a list of seven ways people can reduce the strain on internet providers as part of its “Stay Connected” campaign, which has been launched alongside BT, Sky, O2 and Virgin Media.

“Families across the country are going online together this week, often juggling work and keeping children busy at the same time,” Melanie Dawes, the chief executive of Ofcom, said.

“So we’re encouraging people to read our advice on getting the most from their broadband, home phones and mobiles.”

Here are seven ways you can improve your internet speed during self-isolation.

Use your landline or wifi calls if you can

Ofcom reports that because more people are making calls using their mobile network during the day, people might find they get a more reliable connection using a landline. 

If you do need to use your mobile, it suggests using your settings to turn on “wifi calling”.

“Some smartphones and mobile packages allow your phone to make calls over your broadband network, which often provides the best sound quality and also helps reduce demand on the mobile network,” Ofcom says.

Alternatively, voice calls can also be made over the internet using apps like Facetime, Skype or WhatsApp.

Move your router clear of other devices

Another way to help boost your internet speed is to make sure your router is as far away as possible from other devices including cordless phones, baby monitors, halogen lamps, dimmer switches, stereos and computer speakers and televisions.

Ofcom adds that microwaves can also reduce wifi signals, so try not to use them when you’re making video calls, watching HD videos or doing something important online. 

Lower the demands on your connection

The more devices attached to your wifi, the lower the speed you get,Ofcom says.

Devices like tablets and smartphones typically work in the background, so Ofcom suggests switching wifi reception off on these devices when you’re not using them. 

“You might also want to manage your family’s online activity, so that different people aren’t carrying out data-heavy tasks (like HD streaming, gaming or video calls) all at the same time,” it adds.

It is also a good idea to download any video content in advance, instead of streaming it.

Try wired rather than wireless

For the best broadband speeds, Ofcom recommends using an Ethernet cable to connect your computer directly to your router rather than using wifi. 

An Ethernet cable is a computer networking cable which should give you a faster, more reliable connection and can be purchased from as little as £3.

Plug your router directly into your main phone socket

Where possible, Ofcom suggests not using a telephone extension lead, as these can cause interference which could lower your speed. If you have to use an extension lead, use a new, high-quality cable with the shortest possible length. 

Similarly, tangled and coiled cables can also affect speeds, as can interference from your phone line, so try plugging “microfilters” into every phone socket in your home. 

“They look like little white boxes and split the phone and broadband signals so that they don’t affect each other,” Ofcom says.

Test the speed on your broadband line

Ofcom also recommends running a speed test using its official mobile and broadband checker. 

The tests should be carried out over a few days and at different times of day. 

You can download Ofcom’s checker as a smartphone app (search Ofcom in Apple’s app store or Google Play) or use it through your internet browser.

Get advice from your broadband provider

If your connection still isn’t working as well as it should, Ofcom recommends looking for more information on your broadband provider’s website.

If you need to, you can also contact them for help over the phone. However, people should be aware that, because of the coronavirus, some companies are running with a reduced number of staff who can help with your queries. 

[ad_2]