New rules will prevent broadband firms from misleading speeds of service

Broadband providers forced to use peak-time speeds in adverts in major crackdown

Broadband providers forced to use peak-time speeds in adverts in major crackdown

Current guidance only demands that 10% of customers should experience the advertised speed, meaning the vast majority of users could be achieving line speeds of under what providers have promised in their adverts.

Under the crackdown on misleading claims, companies will be only able to advertise download speeds that are available to at least 50 per cent of customers at peak time.

ISPA (Internet Services Providers' Association) has welcomed changes to the broadband advertising rules.

It also means we can probably expect to see more variation in advertised speeds, seeing as how every internet provider is different.

"Our new standards will give consumers a better understanding of the broadband speeds offered by different providers when deciding to switch providers". It comes after research showed consumers are likely to be materially misled by the advertising of speed claims.

CAP said the median peak-time download speed was the most meaningful measure for consumers at it was easily understood and allowed for comparisons between different ads, while a 24-hour measurement had the potential to mislead by not providing an indication of the speed customers were likely to receive at the time when traffic is heaviest.

There are some new rules about how broadband companies can advertise the speed on their services, and as of next May they're going to have to stop using "unrealistic" speed quotes that nearly nobody is going to be able to enjoy.

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But the ASA has given advice on the use of the terms "part-fibre" and "fibre".

The ASA has also concluded that providers are not misleading consumers by using the description "fibre broadband" for services that use fibre-optic cables for only part of the connection. "Adding the words "up to" was never going to cut it".

CAP said in May it would change the rules to increase the maximum advertised speed to an "average" speed received by 50 per cent of customers. CAP then consulted with Ofcom, ISPs, and consumer groups to help find a better way for providers to advertise their broadband speeds.

"Today's ruling means advertised speeds are going to come down to more closely match the expectations of the average customer by April/May next year". "Up until now the most common complaint from broadband customers concerns receiving less than what they thought they were going to get".

Consumers may interpret a range as the speed they are likely to get individually, as opposed to the range that consumers generally are likely to get, and a range doesn't tell consumers where in the range they fall, if at all.

It based its decision on research which found that consumers did not notice fibre claims in ads, did not treat them as a priority when choosing a package and saw fibre as a "shorthand buzzword" to describe modern, fast broadband.

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