With our latest research showing a significant increase in the use of confusing ‘up to’ speed claims, we’re calling for tighter broadband advertising rules.
Our analysis of more than 6,000 newspaper broadband ads has found that the use of ‘up to’ speed claims have steadily increased since advertising guidelines were introduced in 2012.
In 2012, just one in ten print ads included ‘up to’ speed claims. However, between April 2015 and March 2016 it rocketed to 68% of print ads. In some months it rose to as much as 80%.
Under the current rules, providers only have to demonstrate that 10% of their customers will achieve the advertised speed for it to be use in their adverts. That means many of us will struggle to get anywhere near the advertised speeds. In fact, our research in June 2015 revealed that a staggering 15.4 million households weren’t getting the advertised headline speeds.
Our Director of Policy and Campaigns Alex Neill said:
‘Millions of customers are being taken in by advertised speeds they simply cannot get. With more and more broadband adverts including 'up to’ speeds since the guidelines were introduced, it's clear a shake-up is needed.’
In support of our campaign, the Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said:
‘The way broadband speeds are advertised can be misleading and I want to see more clarity to help consumers choose between providers. UK consumers enjoy some of the best coverage and cheapest broadband prices in Europe, but it's not right for Internet service providers to advertise speeds that are only available to a minority of their customers.’
Thanks to pressure from more than 100,000 campaign supporters, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has today announced that it will research consumers’ understanding of broadband speed claims made in ads. But we want to see the rules changed. And quickly.
Alex Neill added:
‘The regulator needs to quickly introduce stricter rules that ensure providers advertise speeds that they can deliver for the majority.’
If you agree that new stricter advertising rules need to be brought in without delay, please sign our petition. And tell your friends and family to add their support too!
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.
Ofcom has announced measures to make it easier for customers to switch their landline and broadband provider in one simple step.