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Ofcom told to monitor broadband speeds

Watchdog urged to make issue a top priority

The telecoms watchdog has been asked to monitor whether broadband companies are still fobbing off consumers with slower speeds than they’ve promised.

Ofcom needs to make the issue one of its top priorities in the 2008, according to its own consumer panel. The panel acts as an independent voice for telecom and broadcast consumers.

In August 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.

Broadband speeds

Ofcom’s Consumer Panel has already written to Britain’s top internet service providers (ISPs) about the issue and panel chairman Colette Bowe said consumers were often not getting the advertised broadband speeds they think they are buying.

She added: ‘We hope that Ofcom will closely monitor this to see whether the industry adequately addresses these issues; and if this does not happen, to consider how Ofcom and others should respond in order to ensure the provision of clear information for consumers of broadband services.’

Ofcom has also been told it needs to put greater focus on children’s issues and that it should create a children’s panel to overview all of the work it currently carries out in relation to children.

Faster broadband

The panel is also concerned that the roll-out of the next generation of faster broadband could exacerbate the digital divide by focusing on cities.

Dr Bowe said: ‘There is a good case for saying that this new generation of faster internet access should be provided first to the rural communities that currently receive the sparsest and slowest coverage, because these are parts of the country where the public value of such a network is greatest.’

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