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

Not getting the ‘up to’ speed your broadband package was advertised as being capable of offering? According to Which? you’re not alone, which is why it’s campaigning for a broadband speed guarantee to put an end to “confusing adverts”.

A new online survey by the consumer association found only 5% of the 2,000 UK adults that took part are happy with how speeds are currently being advertised, and only 12% knew about the Advertising Standards Authority's (ASA) rule regarding advertising broadband speeds.

The 'rule' - it's more what you'd call a guideline than an actual rule - requires providers to demonstrate that at least 10% of customers on a particular package get the advertised up to speed.

Are you the happy face or one of the many sad ones that probably hate the happy one?

The survey also revealed 88% of those asked said advertised speeds is an influential factor when it comes to choosing a broadband package, which is why Which? has launched its 'Give us broadband speed guaranteed' campaign.

It has also called for the ASA to toughen up its rules relating to speed claims in advertising such as 'superfast' - it wants it to be a requirement that such claims are quantified and that advertised speeds are available to the majority of people. It also wants providers to reveal how many customers are receiving their advertised speeds.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "An internet connection is now an essential part of modern life, so it beggars belief that providers can sell people short by advertising speeds only 10% of customers could receive.

"We want advertising watchdogs to pull the plug on confusing adverts and ensure broadband providers show the speeds the majority of customers will actually get."

Nicholas Lansman, secretary general at the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA), the UK trade association for internet services providers (ISPs), said: "A variety of factors can affect speeds outside of an ISP's control, including customers' internal wiring and equipment. As speeds can involve factors beyond the control of the ISP, we would caution against too restrictive rules."

If you're considering switching broadband, remember that providers should give you an estimate of the speeds you can expect to get at your address before you sign up. If the provider you're dealing with doesn't of its own accord, ask it to do so or look elsewhere.

Sources: BBC News, ISP Review

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