Internet not working? A third of Britons say WiFi has slowed in lockdown, as companies insist they are withstanding demand

Andrew Griffin
Friday 05 June 2020 12:04 BST
Marlene of Yoga on the Move Berlin warms up prior to conducting an online session in her home on March 25, 2020 in Berlin, Germany
Marlene of Yoga on the Move Berlin warms up prior to conducting an online session in her home on March 25, 2020 in Berlin, Germany (Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

A third of people say their internet has got worse in lockdown, as people rely on their WiFi tow ork and study from home.

It comes despite claims from broadband providers that they are largely coping with the increased demand from people using more of their home internet.

According to a YouGov survey, 28 per cent have noticed their internet connection has become slightly worse than usual, while 7 per cent said it was much worse.

It comes as three quarters revealed that they were going online more heavily, as the nation attempts to work from home, carry out school remotely or simply keep in touch with loved ones over the course of the pandemic.

Seven in 10 of people who experienced connectivity issues said it affected general online activities, followed by streaming at 67 per cent, video calls at 59 per cent and and work-related tasks at 52 per cent.

However, over half of the 2,301 participants questioned said they noticed no change in the performance of their home internet connection.

"New YouGov research shows that the internet had become even more important to daily life during the coronavirus lockdown, with Britons using their household broadband connection for entertainment and to work from home," said Olivia Bonito, digital media and technology research manager at YouGov.

"Of course this means that many are now using their internet much more than usual but a significant proportion - a third - are experiencing worse internet performance than they did prior to the lockdown.

"This difficulty in accessing stable internet increases as the number of household residents rises, suggesting internet performance is being affected by increased demand.

"While many might be able to cope in the short term, it could start to affect productivity if working from home becomes the 'new normal'."

Last month, analysis by regulator Ofcom suggested that download speeds have only fallen by an average of 2 per cent since lockdown began in the UK.

"Average broadband speeds have held up, but people's connections have been under much higher demand from home working and schooling - which can mean some services slow down even on a good connection," an Ofcom spokesman said.

"So we're providing a range of practical tips on how people can get the most from their broadband and stay connected during the lockdown."

Additional reporting by agencies

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