How Long Does it Take You to Realise Your Internet is Down?

With 96% of UK households having access to the internet, and 90% stating they wouldn’t be able to cope without it, has carried out an experiment to reveal just how dependent we are on the internet as a nation, and how long it takes for us to freak out if our WiFi drops. They ran an experiment which involved us asking households to turn off their broadband throughout one week at different times of the day and log how long, on average, it took for another member of their household to notice they couldn’t access the WiFi.

It only took 3.5 minutes, on average, for people to notice the WiFi was down and kick up a fuss. Surprisingly, it takes households with children 4.1 minutes to notice. Some homeowners even cheekily captured responses from members of their household whilst they were going crazy about the thought of the WiFi not working. “The internet isn’t working again; you need to ring the provider!” Amusingly, many children panicked about YouTube and Netflix not working, or the fact they couldn’t play Animal Crossing!

Broadband connection issues can be extremely frustrating, particularly now when so many people are working from home. 89% of people use the internet every day and, with around a third (30%) owning five or more connected devices, fast broadband speeds have never been more important. Internet usage seems to have peaked throughout the lockdown period with three-quarters (73%)5 of Britons stating they’ve been using their household connection more than usual. However, over a third (35%) claim they’re experiencing worse performance than they did pre-lockdown, and four in ten (41%) people living with three or more people say their connection has decreased the most during the lockdown.

But, what can people do to ensure they have the best possible broadband for their household, to ensure everyone has easy access to the internet, and most of all, don’t complain that they can’t stream TV?

Holly Niblett, head of digital at explains: “Lockdown has unsparingly  seen a surge in the number of people relying on the internet for work and leisure. There is a wide disparity in connection speeds and access to superfast broadband across the country. Our broadband speed test tool allows people to see how fast their broadband speed is and what better deals are available in their area because, for many households, a fast download speed is a deal-breaker when it comes to choosing a provider. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we have seen a steep rise in the number of customers switching online to the fastest packages during lockdown.”

Below, share helpful tips for improving your broadband speed:

  1. Test the speed of your broadband connection – You can check your broadband speed using our tool: which enables users to check how long it will take to download a film or game in their area. You’ll be shown both your download and upload speeds.
  2. Move your router away from other devices – Keep your router as far away as possible from other electrical equipment and devices that emit wireless signals, such as cordless phones, baby monitors, and computer speakers. Try to place your router on a table or shelf rather than on the floor and keep it switched on.
  3. Turn off WiFi on devices you’re not using – If you have multiple devices such as tablets and smartphones running in the background, it can slow down your broadband, so try switching WiFi off on these when you’re not using them. You should also avoid carrying out data-heavy tasks like HD streaming, gaming, or video calls at the same time as others in your household.
  4. Give your computer a spring clean – Many applications on your PC could affect your broadband speed, some without you even realising it. A few simple quick fixes include making sure your anti-virus software is up to date, making sure you’re using the latest version of your web browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Microsoft Edge, and clearing your cache and browser history.

—Content and research conducted and provided by Compare the Market—