Wifi set for boost after more spectrum freed up for wireless services

24 July 2020

Homes across the UK could soon experience faster and more reliable wifi due to changes made today by Ofcom.

Following a consultation earlier this year, we’re making airwaves in the lower 6 GHz band available for wifi services, without the need for a licence. We are also updating technical requirements for wifi routers to ease congestion in wireless networks – creating a better experience for users.

This will also help people to benefit from increasingly popular technology such as ultra-high definition streaming, virtual reality and augmented reality.

Although home broadband speeds have generally held up well during the Covid-19 lockdown despite higher demand due to increased working and learning from home, these changes will help meet the growing demand for wireless services now and in the future.

Ofcom manages the UK’s airwaves – or spectrum – a finite resource that is essential for wireless services including wifi.

Wifi is increasingly used for the activities that people and businesses depend on every day. Prior to lockdown, a typical household would use up to 315GB of broadband data a month, that’s the equivalent of watching up to four hours of HD video a day.

What is spectrum?

Spectrum is the invisible infrastructure that supports all devices needing to communicate without wires – such as televisions, car key fobs, baby monitors, wireless microphones and satellites. Mobile phones use spectrum to connect to a local mast so people can make calls and access the internet.

Only a limited amount of spectrum is available, so it needs to be managed carefully. Certain bands of spectrum are also used for different purposes such as wifi.