In a step forward for our ‘Give Us Broadband Speed Guaranteed’ campaign, the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) has announced a consultation on strengthening the standards within which broadband providers advertise their internet speeds.
It’s expected that broadband providers have to alter advertising practises, which could result in having to guarantee at least 50% of customers can receive the advertised headline speeds.
A study from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) revealed the majority of consumers believe they are likely to receive a speed at, or close to, a provider's headline claim. However, it is clear through our work that these promises are not always met.
Previous research has confirmed that up to 75% households have paid for advertised broadband speeds they have never actually received.
CAP director Shahriar Coupal said:
‘Research commissioned by the ASA persuades us that tougher standards are needed to prevent consumers from being misled by advertised broadband speed claims.
‘For the next 10 weeks, we're inviting views on four options for change and remain open to any other options that better-manage consumers' expectations of the broadband speed they're likely to receive.’
Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and services, said:
‘Following our campaign this is a positive step and it's vital that the proposals aren't watered down during the consultation. The ASA and CAP must deliver changes that will guarantee as many people in the UK as possible are getting the broadband speeds advertised by providers.’
Use our Broadband Checker tool and see how your provider’s advertised speeds stack up against its actual performance.
BT is ‘significantly under-investing’ in Openreach, according to a Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee report.
The telecoms giant, which is also responsible for rolling out super-fast broadband across the UK, has been warned by MPs that unless the group reforms and addresses the under-investment then it should split from the Openreach network.
The Committee estimates that BT’s super-fast broadband network has suffered under-investment of potentially hundreds of millions of pounds a year, with the group also failing to improve service levels in recent years.
The report said: ‘BT Group is exploiting the position of vertical integration to make strategic decisions that favour the group's priorities and interests, at the expense of its access infrastructure business.’
MPs have also complained that the regulator, Ofcom, has been ‘slow to introduce minimum service standards with financial penalties for Openreach’, and suggested tougher penalties could be imposed for poor service to encourage BT to improve.
Our Director of Policy and Campaigns, Alex Neill, said:
‘It's clear that Ofcom must move quickly to make sure Openreach genuinely improves service for customers who have been let down for too long.
‘People now see telecoms as an essential service so Ofcom must work with the industry to raise standards, with faster, more reliable broadband and automatic compensation for consumers when things go wrong.’
We’ll be pushing for Ofcom to act swiftly and ensure that BT Openreach customers get the service they should expect and deserve.
Today the Government announced plans to put access to broadband on a similar footing to other basic services, like water and electricity.
Virgin Media has come out in support of our campaign to end confusing advertising of broadband speeds.