Lobbyists demand 'up to' prices for 'up to' broadband

Lobby group Wispa says broadband customers "deserve appropriate charges"

When Britain's broadband bill payers are promised an "up to" download speed, they should only have to pay an amount of "up to" what their provider charges, according to Wispa, the lobbying communications consultancy group.

In its latest campaign against what it claims are unfair marketing practices, Wispa is inviting UK broadband customers to send a signed copy of a pre-written letter to the regulator Ofcom, saying they are unhappy paying a fixed rate for service only offering "up to" a certain speed.

The group explained: "If your supermarket charged you full price for 'up to' a kilogram of sugar, or the service station charged you full price for 'up to' a gallon of petrol they would be prosecuted.

"We want to help pressure the communications regulator into actually doing something about your internet service provider charging you full price for an 'up to' service."

Supporters of the campaign are being encouraged by Wispa to sign a digital petition, lobbying Ofcom to enforce a "fairer" pricing structure based on flexible monthly charges which reflect the speeds that are actually received by customers.

At the start of April, new guidance on the advertising of broadband from the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) came into effect.

Under the new rules, broadband providers must be able to demonstrate that "up to" speeds quoted in adverts are received by at least 10% of households using the service. The guidance was reviewed following a request from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The latest Ofcom statistics show that average UK broadband speeds are only around 7.6Mb, in stark contrast to the speeds of "up to" 24Mb many providers have shouted about in their advertising over the past few years.

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