The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has outlined plans for new broadband ad rules - including keeping the existing “up to” speeds.
Broadband providers could be allowed to carry on advertising broadband speeds that few customers will ever get, the ASA's proposals have revealed.
The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and its broadcast sibling, BCAP, have unveiled five suggestions designed to improve the accuracy and clarity of broadband ads - but the first suggestion simply proposes keeping the existing "up to" speed advertising.
"The ASA presently requires speed claims to be qualified with the phrase 'up to'," said the consultation document. "CAP and BCAP do not propose a change to that practice."
Alternatively, the two bodies proposed that:
- If a speed is advertised, that speed must be available to at least 10% of users
- Continue to allow advertising based on the "up to" maximum speeds, but with a typical, real-life performance. For example, an ad for a service described as "up to 20Mb" might state "typical performance: 8-12Mb"
- Continue allowing "up to" ads but with a prominent typical speed that at least 50% of users can achieve
- Ditching the "up to" advertising - only publishing a speed that at least 50% of customers can get.
A statement from superfast broadband provider Virgin Media mobile broadband, which typically delivers faster actual speeds on its cable network than copper wire competitors, said: "With many ISPs [internet service providers] advertising "up to" 20Mb broadband but delivering an average speed of just 6.5Mb, we think ISPs should be basing their speed claims on the typical real world speeds actually being delivered to customers."