What are your rights if the internet slows down?

7 April 2020

Find out how to boost your broadband connection


Many households are struggling with slow broadband as the coronavirus lockdown means people are spending more time online.

The increased strain on internet providers has caused web speeds to slow down for millions, according to analysis from broadbandchoices.co.uk.

The price comparison site found that searches for terms such as 'slow broadband' have risen by more than 60% over the last few weeks.

Here, we explain your rights if your broadband connection is slower than usual and simple tips to boost your web connection. 

Why is my internet slower than usual?

The sudden influx of people working from home and staying off from school and university may cause slower internet speeds as the network struggles with the significant increase in demand. This might happen around peak times, such as 9am in the morning when most people log on, according to broadbandchoices.co.uk.

What are my rights if I am continuously getting slow internet connection?

If your download speed is much lower than what you were promised, you have a right to complain, and even cancel without penalty if Ofcom agrees it is particularly bad. The first thing to do is contact your provider to see if they can resolve the issue. If they cannot, you also have the right to switch to a new provider.

Can I still switch my internet provider during the coronavirus crisis?

Most internet switches and upgrades will be unaffected by the coronavirus lockdown.

Customers of brands currently using the Openreach infrastructure, which includes suppliers such as BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Plusnet, should be able to switch between each other without interruption.

Those looking switch to or from Virgin Media may encounter a slight delay if an engineer is required. However, any delays should be minor and not stop the switch from going through.

10 ways to improve your broadband speed

Slow broadband affects the entire household and can severely disrupt our ability to work or keep entertained.

There are several simple tricks to try which could help you boost your internet speed.

1) Run a broadband speed test

“A broadband test will help give you an idea of your current internet speed,” says Adelana Carty, broadband expert at Uswitch.com. They are free to use, and you can find one by searching online. “They are very useful and can help you work out if you are getting the speed you are paying for,” she says.

2) Streamline your computer

Avoid having too many browser tabs and software programmes running that you do not need. “It is important to close all unnecessary programmes on your laptop or computer, as they can all be using extra bandwidth,” advises Carty.

3) Check your Wi-Fi router

Make sure your Wi-Fi router is set up properly. “Try to place it in a central location around your home and make sure it is in an open space,” says Carty. It is also worth double-checking all the cables are correctly connected.

4) Use a Wi-Fi booster

If you have a large home, or particularly thick walls, getting a Wi-Fi booster will improve connectivity in places further away from your router. They cost anywhere between £20 and £100.

5) Limit the number of devices connected to Wi-Fi

Limiting the devices connected to your Wi-FI can help boost your broadband speed. “You can also try reducing the number of people or gadgets connected to the internet during key meetings, or family film time,” Carty says.

6) Turn off HD streaming

HD streaming uses a lot of bandwidth and could slow down your internet connection. “Simply turning off HD streaming allows more people to use the internet at a faster speed,” advises Carty.

7) Restart your router

Restarting your router can help boost your broadband speed. To do this simply turn your router off by pressing the power button and waiting 10-20 seconds. You can also turn off the power at the switch. If this does not work, try resetting your router.

“Your router is like a mini-computer and sometimes it needs to be reset to get it back to running at its normal speed,” Carty says. Most routers have a reset button located at the back, but be careful as this could also wipe its settings including the broadband password and username.

8) Plug yourself in

If you are heavily reliant on your internet connection, you can always use an ethernet cable to plug your router into the main device you use. “Ethernet cables can help you boost your internet speed and can be used on most devices including a laptop, computer, smart TV or games console,” says Carty.

9) Go mobile

If you have spare mobile data, try tethering to your phone to ease the use of your broadband. You can do this by going to your phone’s settings and selecting the option to set up a mobile hotspot.

10) Switch

Switching to a new provider could help you get faster internet at a cheaper price. Shop around to see what deals are out there first and then decide whether it would be better to move to another provider. It could take anywhere between two and six weeks to switch broadband provider so try to make your switch as timely as possible to avoid disruption to your internet.



broadband and telephone with talk talk

I have just moved from plusnet to talk talk. A very big mistake. With Plusnet I was able to telephone them at any time free and discuss any problem or enquiry. Since I have been with talk talk I haven't been able to talk to anyone from talk talk--also they don't have a free number to contact them.
They refer a person to their web site which does not answer any of the issues raised--emails received from talk talk are no reply therefore it is also not possible to contact them by email.

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