In these strange times we find ourselves in, use of mobile technology has escalated and at the moment it is the main way to communicate with loved ones, our communities and businesses. Somerset County Council and The Education Business Partnership have put together some top tips to keep your safe and better connected.

What’s in this top tips guide?
• How to raise your internet speed
• How to Stay Safe online
• What the Telecommunications companies have agreed
• Available networks and internet speeds in your area.

✓ Tips to raise your internet speed.

The position of your router can make a difference to the speeds. When using Wi-Fi, the nearer you are to the router, the better your signal, and therefore the faster your broadband.
Where possible, try to:
o Choose a central location in your home.
o Position the router high up with no obstacles around it.
o Don’t place router in a cupboard, drawer or surround with objects.
o Try other phone sockets to see if you can get better speeds, plugging your router directly into your main phone socket. The distance between your router and devices should be kept to a minimum where possible.
o Use an Ethernet cable into the router, if your Wi-Fi is not working.
o Keep your router away from other devices. For example, electrical equipment including TV’s and microwave ovens.
o Turn off Wi-Fi on devices you’re not using – the more being used, the lower the speed you’ll get. Especially if someone is streaming a movie in another room.
o Makes sure your device is updated, for example, latest browser and security.

✓ Stay Safe online (gov.uk)

The UK Safer Internet Centre gives advice on how stay safe online and can be found at www.saferinternet.org.uk Also, at www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-staying-safe-online
1. Checking your security and privacy settings.
2. Updating your devices to improve your security.
3. Blocking unsuitable content.
Protect yourself against Scams
4. Criminals will use every opportunity to scam innocent people. Beware of fraud and scams online including Covid-19 related phishing emails and text messages. There is guidance on how to recognise these emails.
5. Do not give out your personal information to websites or in response to emails/text messages you do not recognise or trust.
Cyber Crime
6. There is also information on how you can protect yourself from fraud and cyber crime.
7. If you think you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cyber crime the UK’s national reporting centre and can be found at: www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Check the facts: Not all information online is reliable. Use the SHARE checklist to make sure:
Source – make sure information comes from a trusted source
Headline – always read beyond the headline
Analyse – check the facts
Retouched – does the image or video look as if it has been doctored?
Error – look out for bad grammar and spelling

✓ Telecom Companies Agreement

The UK’s major telecommunications providers have committed to support and protect, vulnerable consumers and those who may become vulnerable due to circumstances arising from Covid-19. These companies have all committed to:
• Working with customers finding it difficult to pay their bill as a result of Covid-19.
• Removing all data allowance caps on all current fixed broadband services.
• Offering some new, generous mobile and landline packages to make sure people are connected and the most vulnerable continue to be supported, including extra data at low prices and free calls from their landline or mobile.
• Making sure vulnerable customers or those self-isolating receive alternative methods of communication wherever possible if priority repairs to fixed broadband and landlines cannot be carried out.

For detail of mobile phone deals try:
o www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/cut-mobile-tariff/

✓ Available networks and internet speeds in your area

Try the following links in your browser – add your postcode and see the results!
o www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/advice/ofcom-checker
o www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk/speed-checker/

This document was produced with the support of Somerset Education Business Partnership.

• The Covid-19 Resource hub: https://www.somerset-ebp.co.uk/covid-19-resource-hub
https://twitter.com/SomersetEBP
https://www.facebook.com/SomersetEBP/
https://www.instagram.com/somerset_ebp/

Somerset County Council links:
https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/
https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-mental-health-information/
http://www.supportservicesforeducation.co.uk/Search/Somerset
https://choices.somerset.gov.uk/025/health/coronavirus-covid-19