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Campaigns | Broadband speed

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Win! Advertising watchdog will revamp broadband advertising rules

In a great win for our campaign to get you better broadband, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) and Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) have announced plans to make UK broadband companies change the way they advertise their internet speeds.

Currently broadband providers can advertise an ‘up to’ speed providing at least 10% of its customers actually get that speed. But we don’t think this is fair advertising.

Advertising rules change

After two years of campaigning for a change to these misleading ‘up to’ advertising claims, the ASA agreed to look into these speed claims earlier this year.

Finally, after being persuaded to carry out its own research into the problem over the summer, the ASA has agreed with us that ‘up to’ claims can mislead some consumers.

Which? Managing Director of Home & Legal services, Alex Neill, said:

‘This research proves what Which? has been saying for years. Advertised broadband speeds can be misleading and many people are unaware that they may never get the attractive high speeds on offer.

‘We have been campaigning for the ASA and CAP to change the rules and we welcome this review. We want changes to be made swiftly so that the majority of customers get the broadband speed advertised.’

The ASA will now be consulting on the options to overhaul these advertising rules before announcing a solution in 2017. So our campaign isn’t over yet, we’ll be feeding into this consultation and making sure this advertising overhaul is finally implemented.


Regulator calls for major reforms to BT Openreach

The regulator, Ofcom, has today called for reforms to the Openreach network following recent reports of poor service and failings by BT to adequately invest in it.

BT is the largest broadband provider in the UK and provides the main telecoms network used by telephone and broadband providers such as Sky, TalkTalk and BT Consumer.

BT Group failings

The telecoms giant suffered criticism by MPs last week with calls for Openreach to be forced to split from the BT Group.

And today, Ofcom has proposed that Openreach should become a distinct company within the BT group with its own board and a majority of non-executive directors non-affiliated to BT Group.

The regulator has also suggested large-scale investments should include greater consultation with customers, Openreach to have its own staff body, ownership of assets that the network already controls, its own strategy and control over budget allocation, and independent branding.

Big improvements needed

With more than 110,000 supporters backing our broadband campaign it’s clear people want better broadband and telecoms services.

Our Director of Policy and Campaigns, Alex Neill, said:

‘Millions of people have suffered woeful levels of service from Openreach so these changes can't come soon enough. In order for these reforms to be judged as a success, customers will expect them to deliver big improvements in service.

‘Telecoms are an essential part of our daily lives and so it is vital that everyone can access good-quality broadband, switching is made easier and compensation is made available when things do go wrong.’

If you want to see better broadband services then back our campaign by signing the petition today.


A universal right to broadband

Today the Government announced plans to put access to broadband on a similar footing to other basic services, like water and electricity.


UK worst in Europe for delivering broadband speed promises

The UK is the worst in Europe for delivering the broadband speeds advertised by ADSL providers.

Virgin Media and SSE speak up against confusing broadband ads

Internet Service Providers Virgin Media and SSE have lent their support to our campaign against broadband ads that promise speeds that most customers will never see.


Biggest broadband providers bring their customers down loads

16th March

The latest Which? broadband satisfaction survey reveals that the biggest broadband providers are letting their customers down.

BT, Sky and TalkTalk came bottom of the pile in our broadband satisfaction survey, with smaller providers topping the table.

Our executive director Richard Lloyd comments:

‘Smaller suppliers are leaving larger rivals in their wake when it comes to the service they provide so we need to see the big players up their game. Ofcom is also currently reviewing this market and we now need it to identify how it plans to ensure broadband customers get a better deal.’

Low broadband speed satisfaction

What’s most intriguing is that, apart from Virgin Media and Zen Internet, all of the providers were given a score of three stars or less for broadband speed. This ups the ante for our Broadband Speed Guaranteed campaign. Not only are we campaigning for providers to improve their service, we want customers to get the speeds they’re promised when they sign up.

At the moment broadband providers are allowed to advertise speeds that only 10% of their customers actually get. That’s why we’re reiterating our call to the advertising watchdogs, The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and The Broadcasting Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP), to tighten the rules so that advertised broadband speeds more closely match customers' real experiences.

Advertising watchdogs must act

Richard Lloyd adds:

‘We’ve told the advertising watchdogs that companies need to be much clearer with their customers about the speeds they can expect. However, three months on, we’re still waiting for them to announce how they’ll ensure adverts only show the speeds most customers actually receive.’

Increase the pressure on the advertising watchdogs by signing our petition alongside more than 50,000 others.


Virgin Media supports our broadband speed campaign

Virgin Media has come out in support of our campaign to end confusing advertising of broadband speeds.


ASA tells BT to give accurate speed estimates

The ASA has upheld a complaint from a BT customer who claimed they were misled as to the speed they could achieve on their line.
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