ASA proposes keeping ‘up to’ broadband advertising

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."

Suggested Pages

  • 10Mb is the minimum broadband speed you need, says Ofcom

  • Which?: ‘Give us broadband speed guaranteed.’ Providers: ‘Ummm...’

  • Three 3G and 4G mobile internet speeds beat EE, O2 and Vodafone

  • Broadband speeds bother businesses stuck in internet slow lane

  • Could you soon get 10Gb broadband speeds down your phone line?

  • EE still fastest for mobile internet ... but for how much longer?

  • Fastest broadband in the world trialled by BT

  • Broadband speed key factor when choosing a provider

  • 4G coverage in Manchester 'patchy'

  • Average UK mobile internet speed up by almost 75%

  • Slow broadband frustrates gamers

  • Britain's fibre broadband ranked 17th in Europe