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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice.

Quick fixes to speed up your broadband

Trying to work or school from home can be a nightmare if you have slow broadband but these quick fixes can speed up your connection.

Check if you can get better broadband speeds

Some areas in Dorset have received full fibre but the improvement in speed is not automatic – you have to sign up for an upgrade. Test your broadband speed and follow the steps to see if you can get better broadband.

You can also check that you are getting the best possible service from your current broadband service by taking several steps - Ofcom have practical tips for improving your broadband speed.

If your broadband speeds are less than 10Mbps you could be entitled to help from Universal Service Obligation (USO) for Broadband (bt.com). The USO either offers you a 4G Home Hub solution or subsidy towards full fibre if you live in a 4G blackspot. The 4G Home Hub is the quickest solution as fibre can take a while to be installed.

You can still get a 4G Home Hub from a range of providers, even if your speeds are greater than 10Mbps.

4G home broadband

This is a portable, and sometimes more affordable, alternative to regular broadband.

4G broadband works in the same way as your phone, operating through a SIM card and mobile signals, unlike regular internet which runs through cables and Wi-Fi signals.

View a list of 4G home broadband providers.

The benefits are:

  • you receive a steady internet connection
  • you can connect all of your devices
  • you pay a monthly fee
  • you don't need a phone line
  • you don't need to pay set-up fees
  • you can take it on the go

You should also be able to receive it relatively quickly.

If you live in a poor mobile connectivity area the 4G solution may not work. However, don’t just go by your current mobile phone deal as some mobile providers have a better network than others.

Wireless FTTM (Fibre to the Mast) Broadband

FTTM is a wireless, competitively priced broadband service that uses Microwave Radio Technology as an alternative replacement to regular broadband. The service requires a tiny dish to be installed on your property which acts as a receiver from the multiple transmitters located around Dorset. With download speeds available up to 300Mbps and up to 20Mbps upload speeds, the service also delivers low latency when compared to satellite broadband. Find out more and view a list of providers.

The benefits of FTTM are:

  • high speed broadband provision in rural and other areas with low speed traditional broadband speeds
  • low cost alternative to leased line private circuits
  • secondary/redundancy service to traditional leased lines (if a cable is damaged to your main circuit, the wireless service can be instantly used minimising downtime)
  • quick deployment – typically 10 days from start of contract
  • flexible contract terms with guaranteed fixed prices for the length of the contract
  • no telephone line required
  • internal wifi router included
  • unaffected by adverse weather conditions such as fog and rain

Satellite broadband

If 4G is no good for your property, then satellite broadband could be another option.

It uses a satellite dish to provide two-way access to broadband services but speeds which used to be lower have improved, with download speeds of up to 30Mbps available. The main advantage of satellite broadband is that it can be provided virtually anywhere in the world, so long as you have a clear line of sight to the south generally.

There are satellite broadband providers in Dorset – search for ‘satellite broadband Dorset’ in your search engine and you will find companies that operate locally.

Help with paying for Broadband

If the cost of broadband is out of your reach, help could be available.

People receiving means tested benefits can apply for the BT Basic service, which provides a phone line and broadband for around £10 per month. 

Virgin Media offers a £15 month deal for those on Universal Credit.

Mobile phone operators have launched unlimited data SIM card deals via schools for children in receipt of free school meals.

The applications are generally done via the schools. If you think you could be entitled to help, contact your school office and ask them about unlimited SIM card deals.

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