Shake-up in advertising of broadband speeds after consumer backlash

Major crackdown announced on advertised broadband speeds

Major crackdown announced on advertised broadband speeds

Research carried out by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) found that consumers are likely to be misled by the advertising of speed claims that follow the current guidance, with many assuming that they are likely to receive a speed at or close to a provider's headline claim.

Today's decision, which will restrict advertising to speeds available to 50% of the customer base, will come into force on 23 May 2018 after a sixth-month implementation period.

Now broadband providers can claim customers will receive "up to" a speed that is available to at least 10 percent of customers.

Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at uSwitch.com, added: "Currently 90 per cent of broadband customers can be left disappointed by a service that will seemingly fall short of the speed they've seen advertised". From May 23rd 2018, adverts must be based on what is available to at least 50 per cent of customers at peak times.

"It is good to see people may finally see the speeds they could achieve before they sign up to a deal".

Shahriar Coupal, Director of the CAP, believes the new standards will give consumers a better understanding of the broadband speeds offered by different providers when they are looking at switching.

Existing rules allow firms to advertise their headline speeds that only one tenth of their customers receive.

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However, the ASA has been concerned for some time that this could potentially mislead people, with the majority of customers possibly not getting the speeds they expected.

There are some new rules about how broadband companies can advertise the speed on their services, and as of next May they're going to have to stop using "unrealistic" speed quotes that nearly nobody is going to be able to enjoy.

UK Minister of State for Digital & Culture, Matt Hancock, said the new standards are a victory for consumers.

The ASA also considered whether the use of "fibre" in broadband advertising was misleading for ISPs that only use fibre to the road-side phone cabinet, relying on a copper connection for the so-called last mile to a consumer's home.

Andrew Ferguson, editor of broadband news website ThinkBroadband said packages previously advertised as up to 38Mbps (megabits per second) will drop to speeds of between 24 and 30Mbps. According to Which? people can expect the adverts to start changing in April, just before the May deadline.

Alex Neill, managing director of home products and services at Which?, said: "Millions of households are now experiencing broadband speeds that just don't live up to their expectations and unrealistic adverts showing speeds you're never likely to get don't help". "Up until now the most common complaint from broadband customers concerns receiving less than what they thought they were going to get. Others may not sell the advertised service but instead push customers to a technically identical service marketed under a different name".

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