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Win! Broadband providers are dropping exaggerated ‘up to’ speed claims

In a Which? campaign win, broadband companies are being forced to drop the unrealistic up to speeds they advertise following rule changes.

For too long, many consumers have been taking out broadband deals but getting speeds much slower than were advertised to them. But our latest research shows that’s now changing.

Previously, suppliers were able to advertise broadband deals which claimed ‘up to’ speeds that only one in 10 customers would ever reach.

But after our sustained campaigning, pressure from our supporters and rule changes from the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) in May, some suppliers have now reduced advertised broadband speeds by as much as 41%.

New rules

The new advertising rules mean that at least half of customers must now be able to get an advertised average speed, even during peak times (8-10pm).

We’d been calling for these vital new guidelines to be introduced since 2013 through our Broadband Speed Guaranteed campaign.

We’ve now found that 11 out of 12 major suppliers have had to cut the advertised speed of some of their deals by an average 15%.

BT, EE, John Lewis Broadband, Plusnet, Sky, Zen Internet, Post Office, SSE, TalkTalk and Utility Warehouse previously advertised their standard (ADSL) broadband deals as ‘up to 17Mbps’. The new advertised speed is now more than a third lower at 10Mbps or 11Mbps.

TalkTalk has completely dropped advertising speed claims from most of its deals. While Vodafone has even changed the name of some of its deals: Fibre 38 and Fibre 76 are now Superfast 1 and Superfast 2.

And only Virgin Media’s advertised speeds have gone up since the change.

What’s next?

Alex Neill, our Managing Director of Home Services, said:

“Customers will now have a much clearer idea of the speeds that can be achieved when they are shopping around for broadband – even though their broadband won’t get any faster.

“With the change in advertising rules now showing the true landscape of broadband speeds, the Government must press ahead with its crucial plans to increase full-fibre availability and deliver the service that broadband customers need, without it costing them the earth.”

Have you bought a broadband package that hasn’t lived up to the speeds advertised? Have you noticed a change in how providers are advertising speeds?

Comments
Steve says:
8 August 2018

My biggest gripe with most broadband companies is that they charge for a tephone as well as broadband fee, when only one is required.
BT in particular were given government funding to provide the best service, instead you get Superfast broadband up to the pole and then everything is slowed down because it come down old telephone wire instead of fibre optic.
Not the best use of government money.

Simon Goldberger says:
8 August 2018

It’s Ironic that Virgin Media have gone up, they couldn’t give an advertised speed through 300mb and 200mb, so I’ve taken my money and gone down to 100.

But we all know what a joke Virgin Media are these days

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This comment was removed at the request of the user

Our experience with Virgin is one of disappointment and infuriating increases in charges with no explanation and, on challenge, they reduce them. We are advanced in years; we try to resist changes but we cannot keep accepting increases and this is one aspect that clearly needs attacking.
How old? Will eighty eight do? Harold and Jean Rogers

Because I live a considerable distance from Dunfermline cabinet 74 that is equipped to supply superfast broadband my broadband speeds are dreadful. I would like to know if I am included in the government statistics claiming that I receive superfast broadband? Since I have no other evidence I believe the statistics are being exaggerated. I have contacted both local councillors and MSP but they don’t seem interested.

Given what the companies supply and their onerous contracts, they are long overdue a slapping down….

A pitt says:
8 August 2018

Funnily enough, I’ve recently gone fibre with talk talk and surprise surprise they told me just the very same thing,

I had for several years broadband/fibre optics from plus net at 40 MGB but recently I came to know I was only receiving 17 MGB and when I complained about this I was told they would check the cable but before that I had to pay an extra of £87 for this check. That infuriated so much that I switch immediately to sky whom told me that I would only receive 17 MGB due to and old telephone line and that I accepted because they told me the truth.

OK, ‘Which’ how about the campaign to get Bbband for everyone and faster for those who can only get miserable speeds. Also those (like me) who have poor speeds and can only choose between BT or Plusnet – at least I can get Bband (even though speed really slow) but there’s plenty who can’t get Bband at all!!!

I’m using TalkTalk The speed varies but on the whole it is acceptable

We live Moelfre Abergele and our broad band speed to our small community gets a very low 0.5 speed!!! at the most.
They BT or Openreach have stopped yards short of final connection into our community POP BOX as they call it.
This finished last December 2017 due to Welsh funding being stopped.
What a waste of money so far putting all major cable runs in for some 2 to 3 miles and being yards from the finish line and a possible 50 plus customers that I am sure would have gone onto the BT broad band.
Can any one help us, advise how we push them on.
Thanks Keith Evans

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This is common in Snowdonia as well, Keith, where the local exchanges were connected to FO cables, but those living in the mountains apparently don’t qualify. Now, they have said they intend to start new funding this September so we shall wait and see.

Latest details are here

Well done Which for promoting this change. It was certainly needed.

Ben says:
8 August 2018

We approached Hyperoptic to install full fibre to our apartment block as BT Openreach refused to install fibre in the city centre in Sheffield. They cabled the entire block and we all have access to genuinely high speed connectivity – I check it using Sam Knows all the time – and it keeps its speed and quality all the time. The irony is that BT Openreach were subcontracted to run the fibre to the buildings!

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DJD says:
8 August 2018

I am obviously one of the fortunate ones! I have broadband connections (Plusnet) in two widely separate locations and both deliver consistently at close to the maximum claimed speed. My automated monitoring where I am now (fringe of town location) shows an average of 70.8Mbps down and 18.6Mbps up over the last week. I am about 200metres from the fibre cabinet, which may help. There are occasionally some brief troughs at predictable times, but even those the speeds are pretty good (>30 down and >12 up).

How come Virgin Media Speed has gone up? I have Virgin broadband but nothing has changed for the better as you suggest. Please explain.

I live in Shiphay which is a suburb of Torquay and I pay £58 per month for 200 Mbps fibre and my phone line which I use a lot being a welfare officer for the RAF Association. In the two years I’ve had it installed, my download speed only varies from 187 Mbps to 212Mbps.

So the 200 Mbps which Virgin advertised is very close to what I get nearly all the time. I’ve just used the “Which” speed test (Wednesday 8th August 2018 at 18:50hrs) and these are the results: Download 212.7 Mbps and upload 12.2 Mbps. So I’m one happy bunny!

I think reasonably uniform universal access should be a higher priority than high speed access for some areas.

Today I luckily had my mobile with me when I unexpectedly needed to upload a CV for a bid.

Many business systems now presuppose the availability of Internet access, so anyone who is going without may be disadvantaged.

Why are BT putting up there prices again for broadband 1st in January and again in August 2018? Putting pressure and blackmailing there customers to stay with them needs investigation

I live in Shiphay which is a suburb of Torquay and I pay £58 per month for 200 Mbps fibre and my phone line which I use a lot being a welfare officer for the RAF Association. In the two years I’ve had it installed, my download speed only varies from 187 Mbps to 212Mbps.

So the 200 Mbps which Virgin advertised is very close to what I get nearly all the time. I’ve just used the “Which” speed test (Wednesday 8th August 2018 at 18:50hrs) and these are the results: Download 212.7 Mbps and upload 12.2 Mbps. So I’m one happy bunny!

I have been with Virgin since day one and they have never ever let me down. I am currently paying for 300MBPS and am actually getting more. VM have never let me down, ever. I would say that outages (cuts) in service measures less that 000000000000000000000000001%. When ever I see the so called superfasrt companies shouting at shoppers from their ludicrous stalls, I laugh at them. They want to know why I am laughing – I simply say Virgin and walk away – there is no way they can compete. For the whole package from VM, tv, phone and broadband and extras, I pay £96 a month. Nobody can top it.

390.28 download – 21.51 upload

£96 per month ?????????????????? Are you a millionaire?????????????? Not in a million years would I pay that!!!!! – Well, in a million years it would probably be = to 1p in today’s money! Roll on 1 million years! Lol

this price is quite reasonable, for example, I am with Virgin, never get slow speeds, currently running my PC, Xbox, Wiiu, 4 Mobiles and 2 tablets, all at the same time with no lag….I pay for landline rental, 200mb Broadband (Which speedtest says it slower than speedtest.net and broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk results, always check more than one speedtest as they all give different results). 500Gb Tivo Box, 1TB V6 box, unlimited free calls 24/7, all channels except sky sports, can watch tv on my mobile, use my mobile to control my boxes and set recordings etc. Virgin give at least 125mb compared to BT maximum 67mb according to broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk search results.

Why do Broadband ads say includes landline, when in fact you need a separate phone line in order to use it.
It’s like buying a car and then being told you need to buy an engine if you want to use it.

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I must admit I am tempted to sign up to BT Plus. I don’t mind locking on to BT for another 18 months; I have never left BT because I don’t rate the alternatives very highly. The cost is not necessarily the most important consideration.

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Mr C A Clifford says:
8 August 2018

I am on the verge of changing my ISP, having been with them for over seven years I have just had the worst twelve months service ever. Also now my friend near maidenhead is also receiving poor service from the major supplier and they are to put their rates up yet again!

Time they were made to charge pro rata for the speed actually received, a 10mbps advertised connection that only gives 2mbps should only be allowed to be charged 20% of the charge for 10mbps connection. This way they may do something to improve poor connection speeds.