Wi-Fi now 'as important' as gas and electricity to almost everyone

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New research from Vodafone has illustrated the growing importance of Wi-Fi connectivity following Covid-19, with many European households having shifted to permanent ‘digital first’ lifestyles.

Social distancing and lockdown restrictions during the peak of the pandemic meant many people were reliant on their home and mobile connections for work, education, entertainment and communication with friends and family they were physically prevented from seeing.

Many of these habits have now become permanent changes, with working from home and videoconferencing far more common than before the start of 2020.

Vodafone full fibre 

Many households have looked to upgrade their connection to account for the increased use, but Vodafone says the quality of Wi-Fi is just as important as broadband speed.  

A study of households in Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK found the average household now had nine Wi-Fi connected devices and that there had been a 68% increase in home working. Eight in ten households said they needed more Wi-Fi at home and half expected coverage in every room in the house.

Four in five households said Wi-Fi was as important to them as electricity and gas and that they simply wouldn’t be able to work without a wireless connection.

Vodafone, which operates broadband services in all four countries, says the findings illustrate the importance of router technology in the connectivity equation. It believes its routers are a key differentiator, offering security features and 4G backup, ensuring that customers always stay connected.

“The last two years have seen a dramatic shift in home connectivity demands, as ‘digital’ lifestyles combined with growth of home working, streaming entertainment and smart devices in every room of the house,” said Daniel Lambrou, Head of Broadband, Vodafone UK.

“Vodafone’s Pro Broadband delivers reliable Wi-Fi in every room, guaranteed with remote optimisation via the cloud for the best connection, and a dedicated team of Wi-Fi Xperts.”

Rival BT also offers 4G backup in some of its router products, using EE’s mobile infrastructure as a fallback. However another converged operator, Virgin Media O2 does not. It says there is no need because its fixed network is more reliable.  

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.