The impact of the coronavirus lockdown ordering people to stay at home was compounded by a massive outage at streaming video service Netflix.
The web site and app both went down as unprecedented numbers of viewers tuned in at the same time across Europe at around 6pm Wednesday (March 25).
Tracking web site Down Detector recorded a massive spike of problems.
The Netflix status was also slow to respond, showing a message explaining staff were working from home which would delay response to calls for support.
The outage came hours after British broadband regulator Ofcom issued tips to keep British broadband users online.
Switch off the microwave oven
The guidance followed Netflix and Disney+ leading a swathe of streaming providers dropping streaming quality for millions of users in a bid to keep their services lit up, even though broadband providers say connections are not a problem.
The advice from Ofcom – which is also useful to broadband users outside the UK – suggests:
Making mobile calls via landline or Wi-Fi due to a higher number of calls on networks throughout the say
Isolating routers away from other devices that may interfere with performance, like cordless phones, baby monitors, halogen lamps, speakers and monitors. Put routers on shelves or table tops off the floor to improve Wi-Fi signals
Stop using microwaves when making video calls or watching streaming video to reduce interference
Go old school with ethernet
Improve your connection speed by switching off apps and devices that work in the background when not using them as they lower broadband speeds
Go old school with a wired connection – Linking a device direct to the router with an ethernet cable gives faster download speeds
Plug the router straight into the telephone socket – Avoid telephone extension boxes or cable for the best speeds
Melanie Dawes, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “Families across the country are going online together this week, often juggling work and keeping children busy at the same time. So we’re encouraging people to read our advice on getting the most from their broadband, home phones and mobiles – and to share it with friends, families and colleagues, to help them stay connected too.”