With the UK still in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, all of our meetings, catch-ups and interviews are having to take place online via video calling.
The same is true, of course, for governments and journalists, who are trying to convey their information to the country with assurance and authority, but it isn’t helped by the fact that so many of them seem to struggle with their broadband connection during high-pressure, much-watched moments on television.
In a previous Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQ), the former Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell was unable to ask a question after a bad broadband connection left him “unable to connect”.
Following that, Julie Elliott, a Labour MP was ironically criticizing the government’s roll-out of superfast broadband when her video stream dropped out and buffered mid-sentence. Elegantly making her point that bad broadband connections were the “bane of her life”.
When the technology makes your point for you in a parliamentary hearing. pic.twitter.com/Zh6uhhqCVP— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) April 22, 2020
Even when presenters and guests are able to connect, they are often dealing with pixelated images and breaks or a lag in the audio. This is frustrating at the best of times, but never more so than when addressing the nation of serious topics that affect us all.
Things are far from normal at the moment, but superfast broadband –– broadband connections with speeds of 30Mbps and above –– are still available to over 96% of the UK. In most cases, superfast broadband should be more than enough for a stable video conferencing connection, however, 30Mbps may still struggle if there are other factors at play.
For example, poor Wi-Fi signal within your home could limit your broadband connection even though you potentially have plenty of bandwidth for video calls. If other members of your household are also using a lot of bandwidth this could affect your video call; if they’re streaming large media files such as HD movies or games or if multiple users are also making video calls, for example.
Your current broadband package will need to have enough bandwidth to provide for every user in your household. You may have to consider switching to a faster broadband connection if you are struggling to use the internet all at once.
If you’re confident your bandwidth isn’t the issue, try our internet connection problems troubleshooting guide.
Another caveat to keep in mind is that 30Mbps is usually plenty for viewing video as that number relates to your broadband download speed. You upload speed is another matter entirely and can significantly impact the quality of your video and audio connection.
Most superfast broadband connections should be able to deliver upload speeds of at least 5-10Mbps, which is still plenty for a video call; as long as there isn’t too much strain on your connection already. Also bear in mind that this is an average speed, and if your connection drops down to 1Mbps, then you’re likely to struggle on a video call.
Run a quick speed test to find out your average broadband upload speed.