Today the Government announced plans to put access to broadband on a similar footing to other basic services, like water and electricity.
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.
Said Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media Chief Executive Officer:
'It’s time to raise the bar: customers who sign up for superfast broadband shouldn’t be stuck in the slow lane.
'Outdated advertising rules allowing providers to claim superfast speeds only available to 10 per cent of customers need to change. Advertised speeds should be available to the many not the few.'
Steve Heald, Head of Retail Telecoms at SSE said:
'We think customers should be able to make fully informed choices. That is why we offer all customers a personal speed estimate before they sign up for our broadband. As a smaller player in the market we are building our business based on being straightforward with customers while offering great deals and excellent service.
'We support changes to the rules to make broadband advertising more transparent. Customers have the right to know what speed they can expect to receive and we are actively looking at how we can improve our customer communications to improve this even further.'
A staggering 15.4 million households aren’t getting the promised ‘up to’ headline speeds on their broadband packages. Join us in asking the advertising watchdogs to pull the plug on confusing broadband ads.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said:
'It’s not good enough that millions of homes are so poorly served by their broadband provider with speeds that just don’t live up to what was advertised. Broadband is an essential part of life these days so people shouldn’t be persuaded to buy a package which is never going to live up to expectations.’
Despite nine in 10 people telling us they consider speed an important factor when choosing a provider, our research found that 74% of households with fixed broadband connections were paying for packages with advertised speeds they never got.
Average speeds fared even worse. We found just 17% of homes received an average speed that matched the advertised level and even fewer, 15%, managed this during the peak evening period.
Advertising guidelines say only 10% of customers need to achieve the maximum advertised speed, but we found three packages that couldn’t even meet that. Only 4% of customers on TalkTalk’s 17Mbps package, and just 1% of people on BT and Plusnet’s 76Mbps deals, were getting the top advertised speeds.
It's good news that it's going to get easier to switch broadband provider if you don't get the speed you were promised. But we want the rules to change so providers are only allowed to advertise speeds that most of their customers can receive.
Up until now, the advertising watchdogs have been reluctant to take action, so we’re calling on Ofcom to work with them to create an action plan by the end of the year to improve the way broadband speeds are advertised. Tell the advertising watchdogs what you think.
With customer voices, alongside Ofcom, we are more likely to ensure people get the speeds they are promised by providers.
Virgin Media has come out in support of our campaign to end confusing advertising of broadband speeds.
Ofcom has announced measures to make it easier for customers to switch their landline and broadband provider in one simple step.