Published: Fri, November 24, 2017
Money | By Michele Stevens

Major crackdown announced on advertised broadband speeds

Major crackdown announced on advertised broadband speeds

"Headline "up to" speeds that only need to be available to 10 per cent of consumers are incredibly misleading - customers need clear, concise and accurate information in order to make an informed choice", Hancock said.

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) announced on Thursday that, from next year, ISPs will only be able to advertise "average" download speeds if at least 50 per cent of customers are able to receive them during the peak times of 8pm and 10pm.

Broadband firms will no longer be able to advertise their fast net services based on the speeds just a few customers get, from May next year.

The ASA is changing the way that companies can advertise their broadband speeds.

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"Our new standards will give consumers a better understanding of the broadband speeds offered by different providers when deciding to switch providers".

Many have claimed that the use of the term fibre to describe a fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) based broadband service, where the fibre element is the backhaul and the last mile to the consumer property is bridged with copper wiring, is misleading when compared to faster full fibre, or fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), where fibre optic cable runs all the way into the premises.

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.

Ever sign up to a new internet service provider off the back of some eye-catching advertisement that suggests you'll get blistering download speeds, only to find in reality, most of the time you get nothing close to the advertised figure?

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The new rules will also govern the advertising of fibre services, which the ASA found was considered a "buzz-word" among customers for modern broadband rather than a term describing a specific service. "The speeds advertised are the expectation you set, no matter how you try to qualify them. This will go a long way to alleviating that most persistent of gripes".

CAP, the regulatory body that is responsible for advertising codes in the United Kingdom and part of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has published a 10-week public consultation seeking views on different options on how to strengthen standards around broadband speed claims.

CAP said in May it would change the rules to increase the maximum advertised speed to an "average" speed received by 50 per cent of customers. Respondents unanimously supported change, with most arguing for median speeds measured at peak time, to be described as "average" or similar in ads, as the recommended basis for speed claims.

The research also found that consumers did not believe they would change their previous decisions after the differences between full and part-fibre services were explained to them.

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He added that the CAP was "determined to ensure the information it provides, including about broadband speed, is trusted and welcomed by consumers".

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