New advertising standards to crackdown on misleading speed claims in broadband advertising. Will this lead to better broadband?
The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), which sets advertising guidelines for the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to implement, has announced that from May 2018 broadband providers will be required to change their advertising of speed claims.
This is a big win for our broadband speed campaign and the 127,000 people who have backed it. We hope that today’s announcement will finally ensure people get a clearer idea of the speeds they could actually get in their home before they sign up to a new deal.
When people ask me about my job at Which?, I have a fact I always bring out. Did you know that only 10% of broadband customers need to receive a headline download speed for providers to promote it in their ads?
We’ve been working on the issue of misleading speed ads for a long time, and back in 2014 we launched our Broadband Speed Guaranteed campaign to tackle the problem.
We called on CAP to look into this and it agreed, consulting on proposals to implement tougher standards for advertising speed claims.
We know from our research that people expect to receive around 91% of the speed that is advertised, which backed our view that people were being misled when signing up to broadband packages.
Most people understand that their broadband will vary at different times but it’s unclear what their expectations should be when they sign up to a new deal. Under the current rules, if a provider says a customer can get ’up to’ 24mbps with their package it’s unclear whether this will be consistently or at 4am
So today’s announcement marks a fundamental shift in advertising within the broadband market. CAP supported our recommendation to make the headline advertised speed an average of what people can expect to get in their homes at peak times. It also concluded that the headline advertised speed should be achievable by at least 50% of customers – a great improvement on the current 10% level.
But what is peak time for broadband, I hear you ask? Everyone relies on the internet at different times but Ofcom defines peak time as 8pm to 10pm for residential customers.
Fix Bad Broadband
While today will go some way to crackdown on misleading broadband speed ads, our work on broadband is far from finished.
Broadband remains an essential part of modern life and yet many aren’t getting the service they need. Earlier this year we launched our Fix Bad Broadband campaign to identify and tackle the barriers to getting a good, reliable broadband connection.
We know that urban and rural communities alike are let down by poor connections, dropouts and slow speeds. We’ve been calling on people to use our free speed checker so that we can build a better picture of broadband speeds across the UK and identify areas of bad broadband, to help people get better connected.
So what do you think of today’s news? Will this help improve the transparency of broadband speed claims? Are you happy with your broadband provider, or do you think your service could be better?