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Slow broadband speeds could be causing more than a million children to underperform at school, new research suggests.

According to a study by uSwitch, 69 per cent of parents believe the internet is essential to their child's education.

Indeed, figures showed that the average child does 3.9 hours of homework a week, with nearly two hours of this requiring internet access.

However, 15 per cent of parents are worried that slow broadband speeds are adversely affecting their child's academic performance.

This means that sub-par internet speeds could be causing more than 1.2 million children to fall behind at school.

More than one in three parents said their children have experienced internet problems while doing homework.

The internet slowdown at peak times, such as the evening, was cited as a particular concern, with nearly one in four parents saying this makes it difficult for their children to do their homework.

Ministers and the broadband sector have therefore been urged to do more to ensure households have access to better broadband services.

"We believe it's time the industry gave the facts - being open and upfront with the information that matters, removed the needless hoops that consumers are made to jump through and worked to ensure the road to faster, more reliable connectivity is a journey for all," uSwitch commented.

Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at the price comparison site, pointed out that superfast broadband is now available to more than 96 per cent of premises in the UK and can cost "as little as £20 a month".

However, he said the take-up of these services across the country is "still not where it could be".

As a result, he believes it is "high time attention was turned to helping families get onto better suited, more reliable broadband services".

"The fact that poor broadband connectivity at home could be having a material impact on our children’s learning is deeply worrying," Mr Neudegg added.

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