Around 100,000 internet users could see their broadband speeds slowed down or interfered with by their Christmas tree lights – that’s the warning from TalkTalk (www.talktalk.co.uk), the biggest provider of broadband to Britain’s homes.

TalkTalk’s research of customers’ homes has found that in-home lighting and wiring can interfere with wireless signals and reduce broadband speeds, regardless of their ISP, by up to 1 meg on a typical 4 meg broadband connection. And the biggest problem at this time of year is the lights on people’s Christmas trees.

The broadband firm estimates that last year it alone received thousands of calls from customers over the festive period complaining about slower than normal broadband speeds. It says a significant percentage of these complaints were due to interference from Christmas lights.

If this figure were applied across the broadband industry, TalkTalk estimates it would mean around 100,000 people’s connections are affected each Yuletide.

To educate its 4 million customers TalkTalk is now issuing guidance on how best to avoid the impact on their web surfing experience.

Sylvain Thevenot from TalkTalk said: “Most people think their broadband speed is affected by how far they are from the telephone exchange, but there are a number of other important factors that have a big impact too. Interference from domestic lighting and wiring is a major problem across the broadband industry and at this time of year Christmas lights tend to aggravate it.

“To keep your broadband running smoothly and speedily, we recommend you keep your Christmas lights as far away from your broadband router and computer as possible, and only buy lighting with the CE mark from reputable brands. We also recommend people avoid having their lights flashing as in some cases this can interfere with the wireless connection.”

TalkTalk also offers its customers a Tune Up Kit, including an iPlate which blocks signal interference in their wireless broadband, to ensure faster speeds.