/ Technology

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?

Lorna says:
22 February 2019

Why does my broadband provider say they are not responsible for the low / non existent internet speed I have been experiencing for 2 weeks ? I have been with the same provider for 10 years and although occasionally a bit patchy all of a sudden I am told I must purchase an internet booster kit to achieve what is their lowest speed after 10 years of being in the same flat. They offer me a package at a higher speed but they can’t provide the lowest speed package suddenly.

Jayne Sullivan says:
2 March 2019

I keep getting ( problem as accurred with this page on the computer)
when watching afilm it’s buffing all the time.
italk tell me that it is at my end and there is nothing They can do about it ,and there number is not a free
Number you are billed for calling them .
I am paying over £30 for my internet
And the only thing I can do is keep on paying till my contract as run out .
ITALK day light Robbery .
I would like to leave , but I have to pay a penalty
Theirs no rights out there for the consumer and if it is WHERE ………..😡

It’s my own fault for being lazy but I have checked my broadband speed on very many occasions at various times of the day and it has never been near the average speed advertised by my provider, BT. I have paid for Superfast Fibre 2 for over 18 months and the download speed has never exceeded 40 mbs so impossible to reach the average of 67 mbs they advertise. I am taking the easy way out now that my contract has expired and switching to another provider who guarantee a minimum speed or money back. I would not now recommend BT as a provider.

I will be interested to know if switching ISP makes a difference because the signals will be carried on the same lines. When quoting an average, some will receive less and some more. Nevertheless, it’s good to have a free trial period without obligation and maybe all ISPs should offer this.

I have had problems with my broadband speed and made several complaints.
I have been informed by BT that the they only guarantee wired broadband and broadband to the hub.
The IEE.802.11x which is the standard defines WFI as wireless networking that uses radio waves to provide high speed internet and network connections. So how BT can say they do not guarantee what is clearly a product that has nothing to do with the wired bit but the radio waves emanating from the Hub I don’t know.
Clearly their advertising is for WiFi which is nothing to do what happens up to the hub but is everything to do with the radio signal from the hub.

Hava says:
16 March 2019

I had a terrible time with Talk Talk over the contract which they offered at the point of sale which was contrary to what I received. They never honoured it and their customer service managers were not much of a help. The complaint department was not helpful too.
My friend who is with Talk Talk. ONLY this year her speed has fallen below 2 and is not able to watch anything! Talk Talk has become a nightmare for her I don’t wish to go into detail as it’s sickening!

Alan says:
4 April 2019

I am with TalkTalk. Never had so many problems with my wifi/broadband. Used to get wifi all over the house but all of a sudden I can only get wifi in the same room as the router and one bedroom. Coincidentally they keep emailing me to upgrade to Fibre! Coincidence???

Rommel says:
14 April 2019

I’ve got new fibre to the house and was sold a 200MB package by BT. But more often than not when I run speed tests the download speed is no more that 50MB .. not sure if someone in BT Marketing/Sales missed a memo about download speeds they can realistically offer and how much they need to be charging the customer for it..

Are you sure you were not sold an “up to 200 mbps” package [now not allowed]? 50 mbps is probably fast enough for most purposes but occasionally, and unpredictably, you might experience 200 mbps. It’s if you get >200 mbps that you would have grounds for complaint!

I suspect that John is right because all internet service providers must provide an average speed, which is a more useful than the old ‘up to’ speed. In the case of superfast broadband from BT the average is explained on their website:
“Superfast Fibre from BT. 91% UK coverage. Average speeds based on speed available to at least 50% of customers at peak time (8-10pm). Your actual speed will depend on your location, phone line, home wiring, Wi-Fi connection and time of day. Check your speed at bt.com/speed. Superfast Fibre is subject to availability, geographic location, computer specifications and a line check. The exchange list and dates are subject to change. Terms apply.”

I suggest contacting BT to find out what average speed you can expect, Rommel.

I have had problems with talk talk from day 1!!! Shockingly slow speeds,they take the money quick enough but don’t provide the service we are paying for!! Spend hours on the phone to customer services who are useless,numerous speed tests done and don’t know how many technician visits and still have no proper connection! I advise anyone who is thinking about joining talktalk to think again! Don’t do it!! You may as well rip your money up and throw it in the bin!!!

They rang and offered me compensation this morning as they accept that the service hasn’t been what it should be,wait for it…… £9.61!!!! I know!!! Shocking!! After a year of s**t service they can stick it where the sun don’t shine!! I’m going to take this as far as I can!! Ridiculous companies like talktalk should be stopped!!

If there is other people out there having/ had the same problems,we need to get together and take them to the cleaners!

Our speeds with talktalk rarely went beyond 3mbps!!

Patrick Marsden says:
2 May 2019

3 mbps on Talktalk Caroline— LUXURY . Ours is 1. 8 mbps . SHOCKING

Well we have had to pay to come away from them,they offered to send yet another engineer out to us,they just do not understand why people are angry!!! I am awaiting a call from the CEO of the company who is going to tell me how much compensation they are willing to pay me!!!!

Roger Norton says:
9 July 2019

To whom can we complain? Openreach will not speak to the humble public and we are having the minimum of 1mbps (in fact a giddy 2.3 Mbps) delivered by BT. What happened to the minimum speed of 10 Mbps we were all meant to be getting? No, let’s give 50Mbps plus to those fortunate enough to have fibre.

So we are finally free from talktalk!!!! I have had three calls since leaving offering me to come back and compensation!! £9.60….. £23.23….. and £58.42… I have said no each time as I am taking it further!!! I advise everyone to do the same!!

Sheree says:
12 June 2019

I’ve had no end of problems with talktalk, after numerous calls and over 5hrs on the phone in total they have agreed to refund the contract breakage fee and I’m awaiting for info whether I’m Owed compensation. I have confirmation that download speed wasn’t at minimum promised yet had to wait 30days to allow them to improve…surprisingly no better! No one seems to know what they are doing and I’ve now asked for a copy of my telephone conversation to the complaints dept when I was agreed compensation as they are saying I’m not owed it now!

paul says:
10 May 2019

Do not go to Vodafone,worse speed than talktalk,I know .tried both!

Virgin are listed as the number one provider,so I signed up to the vivid 350 package (guaranteed speeds over 326mbps) yet only received between 9mbps-100mbps! Virgin unwilling to do anything,and even disputed Ofcoms own checker app,eventually telling me that no isp guarantees WiFi speeds yet it didn’t stop them trying to push their WiFi booster onto me for an extra £3 a mth just to receive the speeds I’m already paying for!!! Good job I was still on cool down period or I’d have been trapped in a 12mth contract with virgin,

We have now signed up with BT and had it for two weeks and have had no problems at all!!! Really fast and we are running a lot of devices, so at the moment we are really pleased!!! Still fighting with talktalk for compensation!!

Dennis says:
16 June 2019

Hi we just signed up for, and have cancelled, Vodafone super fast broadband. Vodafone indicated a speed of 63 Mbs, it did not deliver! The Vodafone “guarantee” only covers the speed from exchange or Street box to the cable you plug into the router. Not what is delivered from the router. We got 26 Mbs. The strange thing is they offer compensation only if the speed on the cable is low. We believe, after reading posts on the Vodafone forum, that the modem supplied is sub standard. The main comment is or was – is this the worst modem ever.” Dennis

I am a Talktalk customer and have been trying to ascertain when they intend to implement the minimum speed requirements by 2020. I wrote a detailed letter to head office who gave me a dedicated number of a person who would deal with the issue. After a forty minutes of conversations where I was passed around to several representatives the last one advised by that “we are unaware of any obligation to provide a minimum 10mbps by 2019” – We currently buy 10mbps and on average receive 4.75mbps. What is a next step ?

Philip says:
4 July 2019

Please be patient with your broadband speeds. Remember BT Broadband is only available on compatible phone lines, so not everyone will get their desired speeds.

J Carr says:
9 July 2019

Please stop whinging about speeds of only 20 or 30 mbps. On a good day I get 3.5 mbps and it often drops to 0.3 mbps and yes I still have to pay the same amount as you!

I am a Virgin Media costumer and I have upgraded my contract from 50M to 350M, on the contract the minimum guarantee is 181M for downloads and between 33-37 for uploads. Is very frustrating as I am trying to watch something on YouTube but is so slow, the same with Netflix and so on. How I should solve this ? Is really frustrating as I have this broadband from May🙈🙈. Thanks

Norman says:
12 July 2019

Looks like perhaps broadband suppliers need to concentrate funds/profits in areas least populated.

David Passant says:
14 July 2019

I have 1mbps, if I’m lucky. Last October Open reach or sub contractors installed the fibre optic cables to the area where I am. So I was very optimistic of getting higher speeds. They have only just got around to installing two new cabinets and connecting the cables. What takes so long?
Last week I contacted my provider EE to be connected to Fibre, I was told that Fibre was available, ( I also checked with other providers who confirmed this.) I was shocked and dismayed to be told it is not worth them connecting me to it or me having it financially, as the maximum speed I would get would be only 3mbps. I am only 100 metres from the cabinet. It’s ridiculous, do they know what they are doing?