Broadband speed probe could end ‘up to’ advertising

Internet providers could be forced to publish more realistic broadband speeds following an investigation by the advertising watchdog.

Internet providers could be forced to publish more realistic broadband speeds following an investigation by the advertising watchdog.

The Advertising Standards Authority is expected to announce details of its upcoming inquiry into broadband speeds and download limits as early as this week.

It will look at the difference between the speeds that are advertised and what customers actually get.

Average broadband download speeds stood at 5.2Mb, Ofcom discovered in July last year - less than half the advertised average of 11.5Mb and far below the 20Mb broadband speeds advertised by many providers.

It found that absolutely no consumers using traditional copper wire-based broadband received their advertised broadband speed. However, fibre optic broadband customers - such as those on Virgin Media - received faster average speeds, Ofcom found.

The telecoms regulator is expected to advise that broadband suppliers should only advertise speeds that at least some consumers can actually get.

The investigation, which is expected to be open to the public, is in response to concerns by Ofcom and the government.

Michael Phillips, Broadbandchoices.co.uk product director, said: "Broadband speeds are a major source of dissatisfaction for customers, so we welcome this opportunity for them to finally have their say in a formal consultation.

"We have been pushing for typical speeds to be made the gold standard since 2007, in the same way that banks use typical APR percentages.

"To date, consumers have effectively been misled by broadband providers' claims of what speeds are technically feasible compared to what they receive in the real world. We want Ofcom to implement a much clearer - and more prescriptive - marketing message policy for all broadband providers," he concluded.

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