We’ve looked at 6,542 broadband ads in print and newspapers since 2008 to see how many are using ‘up to’ speed claims to draw in customers…
As you’ll know we’ve been campaigning to get the advertising rules changed so that broadband providers can only advertise speeds the majority of customers can get. However, the advertising regulator has previously said that the use of ‘up to’ speed is on the decline.
Our latest research demonstrates that this simply isn’t the case.
In 2012, one in ten print ads included ‘up to’ speed claims. However, between April 2015 and March 2016 this has rocketed to 68% of print ads. And in some months it rose to as much as 80%! Check out the rise in this infographic:
Broadband speed matters
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.
And we know that broadband speeds matter to many of you. In fact, nine in ten of you told us it’s an important factor when choosing your broadband provider. Yet, under the current rules, providers only have to demonstrate that 10% of their customers will achieve the advertised speed for it to be deemed compliant. That means many of us will never be able to achieve the promised speeds.
The government agrees with us
In support of our broadband speed 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.’
We agree. Last month the ASA announced that it was making the rules tougher on how prices were advertised to avoid customers being misled. This is a very welcome move, but it now needs to stop companies advertising speeds they can’t always deliver.
Carrying out consumer research is a step in that direction, but with 15.4 million homes unable to get the speeds they were initially promised, the rules need to be changed. And quickly.
Have you chosen a broadband package based on an advertised speed – then found you can’t achieve it?
Update 9 August 2016 – Vodafone scraps line rental charge
Vodafone has announced today that it will be scrapping separate line rental charges for new and upgrading home broadband customers.
Some experts have suggested that rather than a complete scrapping the the charge, line rental will instead be absorbed into a single package price. This comes following the Advertising Standards Authority’s call for broadband providers to clearly advertise cost per month charges that include line rental charges.
New and upgrading Vodafone customers who take out an 18-month contract will no longer be billed the current additional £18 charge, but instead be offered single package price starting at £22. Customers will still receive a landline connection and phone number.
With Vodafone being the first provider to make the move to simplify broadband charges it would be interesting to see how other providers proceed.