Having good broadband at home never been more important after a year spent in lockdowns and working from home.
Covid restrictions over the Christmas period also means more people have had to connect with their loved ones virtually.
Video calls, virtual quizzes and online gatherings have become the norm.
But for some families in Watford, frustrations are set to continue with new figures revealing crippling broadband speeds in some neighbourhoods.
Across the local authority, broadband speeds range from a superfast 344.1 megabits (Mbps) per second to a snail-paced 4.2 Mbps, according to data from Uswitch.com.
It means families using Zoom, Skype or Facebook to speak to relatives and friends could be faced with annoying freezes, cut-outs and sound delays.
The average broadband speeds were collected in postcode areas with more than 50 addresses through at least one test in the 12 months up to October this year. In total, nearly 400,000 tests were done.
They revealed, in Watford the postcodes with the slowest speeds were:
1. WD24 7NU, in North Watford – average speed of 4.2Mbps
2. WD25 7HZ, in Cobb Green near Woodside Stadium – average 6.8Mbps
3. WD18 7BN, in Venue Avenue near Watford station – average 7.8Mbps
The postcodes with the fastest speeds were:
1. WD18 6XL, in Latimer Close, Holywell – average 344.1Mbps
2. WD24 7NX, in North Watford – average 236.7Mbps
3. WD18 0DN, in Liverpool Road near Vicarage Road – average 224.7Mbps
Ernest Doku, broadband expert at Uswitch.com, said: “The digital divide that runs through Britain has grown dramatically in the last year, with the fastest street’s broadband more than 5,000 times quicker than the slowest’s.”
He added: “It’s great that more of us are enjoying ultrafast broadband, but we don’t want to see large swathes of the country left behind on shoddy connections that aren’t suitable for modern life.”
This week, the Government set out a draft strategy to connect one million homes and businesses with 1,000 Mbps broadband in the hardest-to-reach areas of the UK.
It is part of a plan to provide 85 per cent of the country with broadband capable of the speed by 2025.
Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman, said: “We will begin these procurements rapidly so broadband providers big and small can move quickly to get the job done and level up communities with this much faster, next generation broadband.”