ISPs quizzed over slow broadbandWhich? welcomes move by Ofcom panel

11 October 2007

 

A man working on a laptop

The new broadband deal is cheaper

Britain’s top internet service providers (ISPs) have been asked to explain why consumers often don't get advertised broadband connection speeds.

The moves comes just weeks after Which? online revealed a huge gap between advertised broadband speeds and the actual speeds users can achieve.

Our test of more than 300 customers found that while they were promised up to 8Mbps or faster, they actually achieved 2.7Mbps on average, with the lowest speed achieved just 0.09Mbps. After publishing our report, we asked Ofcom to act.

Now Ofcom’s Consumer Panel – which acts as an independent voice for telecom and broadcast consumers - has asked the chief executives of BSkyB, BT Group, Carphone Warehouse, Orange UK, Tiscali UK and Virgin Media to come up with solutions that give customers clear information.

Likely speed

Colette Bowe, Chairwoman of the Ofcom Consumer Panel, said that consumers need to be able to see what they are buying, what influences the performance of the product or service they are buying and how to do something about it if it doesn't live up to their expectations.

The panel has asked the ISPs to consider changing their sales practices to include:

  • advising customers what their likely connection speed would be on their line
  • extending the cooling-off period so customers can test out the connection speed before signing a contract
  • allowing customers to exit from contracts if they experience persistent speed and quality problems.

Clearer information

Which? technology expert Lisa Barber said: ‘Which? is delighted that the Ofcom Consumer Panel agrees with the recommendations we put to Ofcom after publishing our own report on broadband speeds back in August.

‘We hope this means that consumers will be given clearer information about broadband speeds in the near future.'