Calls for internet providers to shake-up broadband speeds so customers can understand them
A top watchdog is calling for a shake up of broadband1 speed claims so they are on the same wavelength as customers’ expectations. For research by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)2 found while speed was a key factor for millions, many did not know what it meant in practice. According to the study, Brits were clueless over what broadband speed they needed for everyday online use from streaming music and films to sending images and documents.
And it found while providers can claim “up to speeds” as long as 10% of their customers can achieve it, most thought they would automatically get it. But the ASA concluded “for many that is not likely to be the case”.
Broadband companies have been told “users deserve greater honesty” (Photo: PA)
It wants the industry to change the wording so customers are not misled into thinking the top speed is a one size fits all when only one in ten are in the right area to receive it. The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), which sets the standards, has announced it is to review its guidance to advertisers and report back in the Spring.
Previous independent testing by consumer groups has found that up to three quarters of households are paying for advertised broadband speeds that they have never received. ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: “Our new research indicates that speed claims in ads contribute to consumers’ expectations of the broadband speeds they’ll receive, but their expectations are not being met. That needs to change.”
Customers don’t understand their broadband connection (Photo: Getty)
And regualtor Ofcom added: “Ofcom is concerned about the gap between advertised broadband speeds and what people actually receive.
“We’re pleased that the ASA has confirmed it will bring about changes to advertising practices, so that broadband customers can shop with greater confidence.”
Last month saw a rule change ordering broadband suppliers to make their prices clearer. Providers must now reveal the full price of the package and can no longer separate the line rental and monthly costs. They must also must give greater prominence to the length of contracts, prices after any initial discount has ended and up-front costs like installation or activation fees.
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