Luke Pollard MP Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport
- Luke supports campaign for the UK to #StayConnected during the COVID-19 crisis
- With people working/learning at home, Ofcom aim to reduce network pressure
- Luke shares Ofcom’s 7 tips to stay connected
In Plymouth and across the country, mobile and broadband networks are under increased strain as more people work and learn from home. Although broadband provision UK-wide is not good enough, and Luke has called for full-fibre broadband across the UK, this campaign is an important part of the unified approach to dealing with the Coronavirus crisis to keep the country going.
Luke has chosen to support this campaign to help ease pressure on mobile and broadband networks in Plymouth and help people get the speeds and reception they need, at a time when broadband and mobile have never been more important in helping everyone communicate. He had this to say:
“I want to see every household have access to fast internet. With more people using streaming services and downloading content at home there is now massive pressure on our internet. I know affording data is a problem for many people and I want to see steps taken to enable more people to access especially educational resources at this time of crisis. Ofcom, the Government regulator for communications, has produced some handy hints about how to manage your internet use and get the most out of it.”
Whilst network operators are confident that they can meet increased demand,we can all play our part in helping to manage how we use our broadband, home phones and mobiles. Telecoms companies are constantly monitoring traffic on their networks, taking steps to ensure it is managed effectively and people continue to receive a normal service.
Ofcom has shared 7 tips to #StayConnected:
1. Use your landline or wifi calls if you can
More people are making calls during the day. Because of this demand, people may get a more reliable connection using their landline. If you do need to use your mobile, try using your settings to turn on ‘wifi calling’. Some mobile packages allow your phone to make calls over your broadband network, which often provides the best sound quality whilst also reducing network demand. You can also make calls over the internet using apps like Facetime, Skype or WhatsApp.
2. Move your router clear of other devices
Keep your router as far away as possible from other devices – including cordless phones, baby monitors, halogen lamps, dimmer switches, stereos, microwaves, computer speakers, TVs and monitors. Also place your router on a table or shelf rather than on the floor, and keep it switched on.
3. Lower the demands on your connection
The more devices connected to your wifi, the lower the speed you get. Turn off wifi reception on devices like tablets and smartphones when you’re not using them. Another way to reduce demand is to audio call rather than video call. You can also stagger online activity with your family/housemates so that different people aren’t carrying out data-heavy tasks (like HD streaming, gaming or video calls) all at the same time. Downloading videos in advance, instead of streaming it, can also help.
4. Try wired rather than wireless
For the best broadband speeds, use an Ethernet cable to connect your computer directly to your router rather than using wifi. This is a computer networking cable which should give you a faster, more reliable connection. They’re available from as little as £3.
5. Plug your router directly into your main phone socket
Where possible, try not to use 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. Tangled and coiled cables can also affect speeds. So 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. Different providers have varying setups in the home, so always check their website before unplugging any cables.
6. Test the speed on your broadband line
Find out what speed you’re actually getting. You can run a speed test using Ofcom’s official mobile and broadband checker. If possible, carry out tests over a few days and at different times of day. A number of in-home factors can affect wifi speeds, so look on your provider’s website for guidance on improving your signal around the home.
7. Get advice from your broadband provider
If your connection isn’t working as well as it should, you can find advice on your broadband provider’s website – which is also available on mobile phones. If you need help, be aware that some companies have fewer staff due to Coronavirus. Most are prioritising vulnerable customers and essential public services, so please take this into consideration.
If you have any trouble accessing support, you can contact Luke on firstname.lastname@example.org