Ofcom warned that Christmas tree lights and other household electronic devices is slowing Wi-Fi speeds for millions of British consumers.
The watchdog released an app that checks whether a consumer’s in-home Wi-Fi is giving them the best service.
According to Ofcom, wireless broadband in around 6 million homes and offices may not be working as well as it could, with broadband speeds suffering from “interference” from electronic devices, such as a microwave oven, baby monitor, a lamp – or even Christmas fairy lights.
The app, available for Android and iOS, tests the user’s Wi-Fi set-up and if a problem is identified it will provide troubleshooting tips to help improve broadband speeds.
Some tips that the app may suggest include: moving the router away from electrical devices, moving the router to a different part of the home/office, or restarting the wireless router.
Having Christmas tree lights shouldn’t be a major concern for consumers who want to get the most out of their Wi-Fi set up as long as the lights aren’t placed between the router and devices that use the router to access the internet.
It should also be noted that during the Christmas period households tend to have a higher concentration of devices accessing Wi-Fi, which may drain bandwidth.
A quarter of households in the UK now have “superfast” broadband
In separate research released by Ofcom the watchdog found that over a quarter of British households now have “superfast” broadband connection of more than 30MB per second.
The total number of households with “superfast” broadband increased to 7.5 million in 2015 from 6 million last year.
There are now 500,000 homes in the UK with “ultrafast” broadband – speeds of over 300MB per second.
In addition, mobile 4G coverage increased from 44 percent last year to 73 percent in 2015.
There is still work to be done though
However, there is still work to be done. Households in rural parts of the country are less likely to have higher-speed broadband, with the research revealing that high-speed broadband is only available for 37 percent of rural households.
In addition, approximately 8 percent of British households and 50% of households in rural areas cannot receive broadband with speeds of over 10MB per second.
Ofcom boss says it’s vital consumers get the most out of their communications
Sharon White, Ofcom chief executive, said: “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.
“Our challenge is to keep supporting competition and innovation, while also helping to improve coverage across the country – particularly in hard-to-reach areas, where mobile and home internet services need to improve.
“It’s vital that consumers have the tools they need, such as the new Wi-Fi Checker, to get the most out of their communications.”