Councils unhappy with ‘misleading’ broadband speed ads in rural areas

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 370 local councils in England and Wales, has criticised the way that broadband providers advertise their speeds, saying it’s “misleading” - especially for properties in rural areas.

The 'up to' download speed figures that broadband providers advertise currently only need to apply to 10% of connections on that package. However, since homes in rural areas are almost never in that top 10%, the LGA believes it's unfair.

It's called for a few changes in how broadband speeds are advertised:

1. Providers should advertise the average download speeds, rather than an 'up to' figure.
2. Upload speeds should be advertised alongside download speeds.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, chair of the LGA's People and Places Board, said: "Good digital connectivity is a vital element of everyday life for residents… As central and local government services increasingly become 'digital by default', more people will need to have faster and more reliable speeds.

"The headline 'up to' download speed, which can be advertised legally, is misleading and does not reflect the reality of broadband service received across the country. Broadband users deserve greater honesty and openness about the download and upload speeds they are likely to receive depending on their location."

The Association also has a few concerns over the proposed universal service obligation (USO), which would give everyone the legal right to broadband with download speeds of 10Mb. The estimated number of households that still won't have access to a 10Mb connection by 2017 could be as high as a million, the LGA says - with 100,000 of those in rural areas.


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