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Broadband providers forced to advertise average speeds

ofcom office of communication 1
ofcom office of communication 1

ofcom-office-of-communicationCommunications watchdog Ofcom will introduce new rules to make broadband providers advertise average speeds.

According to the organisation, average UK UK broadband speed are around less than half that advertised, Ofcom is pushing for new rules to ensure consumers are not misled.

Its twice-yearly study found that the average speed is 6.2Mbps, the average advertised “up to” speeds of 13.8Mbps. The study looked at 11 packages provided by the seven of the largest ISPs,  which covers around 90 per cent of UK residential broadband users, compiling results from more than 18 million separate performance tests in 1,700 homes during November and December.

The regulator said that new rules for advertisers will require them to advertise typical speeds actually achieved by at least half of customers alongside “up to” speeds, “so consumers have a clearer idea of what speeds to expect”, it said.

Research by the regulator indicated that consumers would welcome more information on broadband speeds to allow them to make effective and informed choices, it said.

Its recommendations have been passed to the Advertising Standards Authority, which is responsible for any changes to the regulations.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said: “It is encouraging that new technologies are being rolled out across the UK and faster speeds are being achieved. However, the research shows that ISPs need to do more to ensure they are giving customers clear and accurate information about the services they provide and the factors that may affect the actual speeds customers will receive.”

Sebastien Lahtinen, co-founder of thinkbroadband.com said that the research shows the need for consumers not to rely solely on advertised speeds in making decisions about which broadband provider to use.

“Ofcom’s current position appears to suggest broadband providers can for example restrict certain types of applications whilst labelling their product as ‘unlimited’ and quoting fast typical speeds, even though this may not apply to applications users are seeking to use,” he said.