Six million UK homes and offices could be receiving inadequate Wi-Fi connectivity due to poor setups, Ofcom has said.
Household electronic devices were singled out by the UK competition authority as a potential perpetrator, which can cause interference with in-house wireless connectivity.
Ofcom made the claim as it launched an app allowing consumers to check and improve their Wi-Fi.
The Ofcom Wi-Fi Checker allows consumers and businesses to check the quality of their wireless connection and offers troubleshooting tips on how it can be improved.
The regulator launched the app alongside its 2015 Connected Nations report, which also cast insight into the state of country’s fixed broadband services.
According to Ofcom, “superfast” broadband - those with a connection of 30Mbit/s or more - is now available in 83 per cent of UK homes, up from 75 percent in 2014. Meanwhile, ‘ultrafast’ broadband offering speeds of more than 300 Mbit/s, is currently available in 500,000 homes.
The watchdog said the uptake in superfast services had been driven largely from BT’s ongoing fibre rollouts and Virgin Media moving its customers onto faster packages.
The UK Government’s Broadband Delivery programme, which aims to extend superfast connectivity to rural areas, has also improved overall coverage in the country, Ofcom said.
However, the report revealed that approximately eight percent of UK homes were still not receiving broadband speeds of 10Mbit/s or above, rising to 48 percent in rural areas. Further, nearly half of UK SMEs are unable to receive the same speeds, Ofcom said.
Kester Mann, analyst at CCS Insight, told European Communications: “Superfast broadband roll-out continues at a decent pace, but there are clearly challenges for rural communities and the SME market.
“Availability of superfast broadband to rural areas is now at 37 percent of premises. This is an encouraging jump VS 22 percent in 2014, but still notably trailing urban areas. This will continue to fuel concerns of a digital divide in the UK."
Ofcom concluded that there was “still more to do” to improve broadband availability and quality for UK consumers, and said it was “working closely” with the Government and industry players to improve coverage internet users.
Such efforts have led to Ofcom working with BT, TalkTalk and Virgin Media to develop a new Code of Practice specifically targeting enterprise broadband services.
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.”