Following on from Michael Fabricant’s challenge to the minister responsible for broadband in the House of Commons last week [see http://www.michael.fabricant.mp.co.uk/news-001135.ihtml] to improve coverage in Staffordshire and elsewhere, he now asks broadband users to help in his campaign.
Michael says: “Although Government funding is going into improving local broadband infrastructure, this only accounts for 30 per cent of problems experienced online. Often it is the internet service provider themselves or conditions in your own home: the wiring or the wifi connection. So I’m supporting the Countryside Alliance and technology company Actual Experience’s BbFix project to help broadband users to find answers to their problems.
“Broadband coverage and speed have long been contentious issues. but for many internet users, their experience could be improved by simply understanding what is causing them to have slow or patchy performance. BbFix crowd sources data which will help some users to fix their broadband at home, fix problems with their provider and improve the internet experience for everyone. All the user needs to do is download a small piece of software onto their desk top computer or laptop and it will identify the cause of their slow or inconsistent broadband.”
Sarah Lee, head of campaigns at the Countryside Alliance, says: “The importance of broadband to rural households and businesses cannot be overestimated with many deeming it an essential service, alongside water, electricity and gas, yet there is still a marked digital divide between areas. The more people who run the BbFix software the more data is collected about the problems affecting UK internet use and the greater opportunity we have to improve broadband connectivity for all.”
Dave Page, founder of Actual Experience, commented: “This is great news for internet users across the country. For too long people have struggled with poor quality internet without knowing what’s going wrong and what can be done to fix it.
“Now with BbFix, we can all investigate the quality of our connection and take steps to get right changes made. In an astonishing 25 per cent of cases, the source of the problem is an old or misconfigured router, which people can resolve themselves.”
Michael adds: “I would like to urge everyone to run the BbFix tool on their home broadband, regardless they are getting fast speeds or slow, and see if they can find out what’s holding them back. This information will be very useful to encourage providers to make improvements to the service.
“The software is available free to download from the website www.actual-experience.com/bbfix. Follow the onscreen instructions. If you have any questions about the download process, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.”
BbFix does not capture any data about individuals or their online activity. It tests connection to six major websites as you would experience it. It rates the quality of that connection out of 100, where 80 is almost perfect, 70 is adequate and 60 is inadequate and highly frustrating. When you want to take a look at your scores (it is best to wait a week), return to the website www.actual-experience.com/bbfix and click login.