/ Technology

Update: how do broadband providers get away with ‘up to’ speed advertising?

broadband line

Imagine walking into a pub this weekend ordering a pint and the barman saying he’ll pour you ‘up to’ a full pint. Or buying train tickets from London to Newcastle – that might only take you to York or Doncaster.

Or your boss telling you that this month she’ll pay you up to 10% of your normal salary. OK… well, you get the picture.

It sounds crazy of course but actually this is the kind of experience most of us face with our broadband – we’re all living in ‘up to’ land.

What our new research reveals about broadband speeds

Our latest research reveals the full extent of the problem – a whopping 15.4 million UK homes are putting up with speeds that don’t actually match those they were initially promised.

So 74% of households with fixed broadband connections are paying for packages with advertised speeds they don’t get. It gets worse when you move out of cities. Astonishingly, 98% of rural homes typically don’t get the headline advertised speed.

For example, we found that only 4% of customers on TalkTalk’s 17Mbps package, and just 1% of people on BT and Plusnet’s 76Mbps deals, are getting the top advertised speeds.

We know speed matters. Nine in 10 of you have told us it’s an important factor in how you choose your broadband provider. It’s also how providers describe and categorise their own services. But guidelines state that advertised ‘up-to’ speeds only need to be available to 10% of customers. Only 10%!

Your experiences of ‘up to’ broadband speeds

Many of you have shared your frustrations about slow broadband speeds. For example, Julia Ortmans told us:

‘Our broadband speed in North Norfolk is about 1.5Mbps. Sometimes slower – if you can imagine. It’s like living in a third world country that has just introduced computers. Occasionally if I am up at 3am it gets to nearly 2Mbps.’

And Bert said:

‘We live in the ‘sticks’ and have been totally forgotten by all providers. Hopeless and yet they still charge us for full speed.’

What we want to see

Last week we reported on how Ofcom planned to make it easier for you to switch your broadband provider if you’re not getting the speed advertised on your contract. We welcome this, but we also want the rules changed so that providers are only allowed to advertise speeds the majority of their customers can receive.

Help us increase the pressure by sending a message to advertising watchdogs – tell them what you think about misleading speed claims in broadband ads.

Have you chosen a broadband package based on an advertised speed – then found you can’t achieve it?


[UPDATE 15 APRIL 2016] – Culture minister Ed Vaizey has said that broadband speed advertising rules are a ‘complete and utter joke’.

Ed Vaizey told the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee:

‘It’s ridiculous. The idea that if you can deliver to 10% of houses the broadband speeds you are advertising on a large billboard and get away with it seems to be a complete and utter joke, and I have told that to [the ASA’s] face.

‘It is good to have independent regulators. But I also feel as a politician and minister in this space I want to have the opportunity to express my frustrations. I am frustrated.

‘The way broadband speeds are advertised are misleading and I’d like to see them changed. I’ve made my views clear and the ASA will be aware of my concerns.’

Comments
Profile photo of NFH
Member

In London I have one gigabit broadband (downstream and upstream) via fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP). My case should be the norm and not the exception. The UK needs to move away from archaic copper cables (which includes FTTC or fibre-to-the-cabinet) so that FTTP becomes universal. This has already happened in countries like South Korea. Why should the UK remain in the slow lane?

http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/4188474648
http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/4188485494

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Richard, just to clarify the facts behind your introduction:
“15.4 million UK homes are putting up with speeds that don’t actually match those they were initially promised.” By “promised” do you mean when they asked for the speed they would get if they signed up they then did not get that speed?
If an advertisement says “up to” does that mean, to you, that everyone should expect that speed? Or 70% of people? Or 50%?. To me its only use to a potential subscriber is that it simply sets an upper limit.
If you give a potential broadband provider your telephone number then you should expect a good estimate of the speed you are likely to get. Rather than taking a negative stance on how poor things are would it not be more constructive to tell people (those who don’t already know) how to check what speed they can expect when choosing a provider?

Profile photo of alfa
Member

Malcolm, you talk a lot of sense.

Do any ISPs actually promise speeds? I have been with 4 ISPs at my current address and they have advised I won’t get a great speed because of the distance to the exchange but should be able to get 4.5Mbps. On several occasions when the speed has dropped, they have worked with me to try and improve it. I have never switched ISP just to get a better speed as there is no point. But I can honestly say no ISP has conned me into a contract that is unattainable.

ISPs are mainly dependent on the BT infrastructure and you can’t get blood out of a stone.

“Up to” depends on so many things and Which? would do better lobbying for BT to improve the infrastructure and advising people how to get the most from their slow speed not just backing weak directives from Ofcom.

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Member

Hi Malcolm, thanks for your comment. There are two issues here. One is the interaction you have with your provider when taking out a contract. This is why our campaign last year resulted in changes to Ofcom’s code of practice – requiring providers to give individual customers more information about the speed they can expect to receive, and giving people stronger rights to leave their contract penalty free if the speed they receive fall below that reasonable level.

And then there’s how speeds are advertised more generally. If a handful of customers can receive a speed of 150Mbps, does that mean a provider can advertise with [small letters] “up to” and then [big headline] 150Mbps? We think that the headline speed should be available to the majority of customers if a provider uses it in advertising. That gives all consumers a clearer indication of what speed that provider’s package offers, before they engage in the purchasing process. We’re not calling for all customers to get the maximum speed advertised, but for broadband ads to be more realistic.

Yes, it’s a good idea to contact all providers to get an estimated speed, but many find that the way the speed is presented influences their decision of which provider to engage with. Hence the importance of challenging advertising rules to make sure that they are fit for purpose and give consumers a realistic picture of what they can expect. We don’t think the current guidelines do this, so we’re asking for them to be reviewed.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Patrick, I understand that. However, what headline speed do you advertise? It will never match everyone’s achieved speed, will it. So it seems to me a pretty useless concept to pursue. If I know my provider is limited to 16 Mbps (on copper for example) but am told how to find out what I am likely to get then I will have useful information.

If you simply want to knock the way the advert is done – like EU fuel consumption – then that is fine by me. But put something constructive in its place. What I strongly dislike is the inference in your campaign that 15.4 million people have all been misled into getting an unachievable speed. Which? are simply sinking to the same level as the advertisers we seek to constrain.

I’m probably a lone voice, but I would like Which? to adopt objective fact-based actions and stop treating consumers as non-critical observers who can be marshalled into a campaign by stretching the truth. As well as having consumer support you also need to be seen by commerce, industry and others as a fair-minded consumer champion to retain their respect.:-(

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

All marketing needs to be honest to decide which companies to shortlist when choosing a broadband service. I’m grateful for the efforts of Which? but disappointed that Ofcom and ASA have not done more.

Maybe ‘up to’ still has a place in the context of broadband. The service providers could be told that they have ‘up to six months’ to accede to the proposals made by Which? These seem reasonable and fair to me.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Malcolm – My last comment was related to Patrick’s post.

You ask what headline speed speed should be advertised. Most consumers will be looking for a service that meets their current or future needs, which might be being able to use iPlayer, YouView or use games consoles, and both speed and infrequent disruption of service are important. It is the minimum speed that is the vital information and anything above this is a bonus.

As well as the minimum speed, you could give some breakdown of what service users achieve but the least helpful information is the maximum possible speed.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

wavechange, as you will see from my comment I have no disagreement here. The point I was making – where I am concerned- is Which?’s inflammatory approach. I do not see it as a necessary or a good way for a responsible organisation to enlist support for a campaign. I want positive proposals, not negative company bashing.

You say “All marketing needs to be honest”. Of course it does, and “up to” is honest, just not very helpful. Is this campaign honest? I think Which? is using the same marketing tactics that we criticise elsewhere. So honest? Economical with the facts perhaps to help persuade us.

As you will note I have been critical in the past of Which?’s approach to a few consumer issues. I am not one who thinks everything Which? does is above criticism and will continue to voice a view when I think it has crossed a line. But maybe my concept of what Which? (Consumers Association) job should be, and its approach, is outmoded. It certainly seems more populist to knock commercial organisations at any opportunity.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Malcolm – Having worked in research where we were expected to publish information that was objective and backed up by evidence and statistical treatment of results, I have never been comfortable with high profile campaigning. But – as every politician knows – you will not achieve much if you try and take the middle road. The Conversation introductions are, I assume, deliberately provocative to encourage more people to participate. In many cases the text has been revised when someone has pointed out a factual error. If commercial organisations feel that they are being victimised then they could take legal action against the Consumers’ Association. Maybe that does not happen very often because it would draw attention to why the companies were being criticised.

If I’m going to join in with Which?-bashing, my main concern is probably the time than issues like broadband speed drag on. I’m beginning to think that the issue will disappear when we all have fibre broadband. Although I am very happy with the input Which? has made to raising awareness and action on the campylobacter problem, why little was done before, either by the Food Standards Agency or Which? My neighbour has just informed me that his wife is lying paralysed in hospital as a result of a severe bout of food poisoning believed to be caused by chicken. She has Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare complication of campylobacter poisoning. It happened abroad but could equally have been in the UK.

I’m glad to see Which? giving us the opportunity to discuss problems outside the commercial sector.

Profile photo of Beryl
Member

The Cambridge Dictionary quotes ‘up to’ can be used as either an adverb or a preposition. Used in the context of an adverb for advertising purposes referred to above it is “used to say that something is less than or equal to but not more than a stated value, number, or level.

Used as a preposition (doing) – to be doing something, often something bad or illegal, usually secretly eg (I’m sure he is up to something) or (responsibility) – to be the responsibility of someone eg (It’s up to the manager to make the final decision).

Suffice to say probably all of the above are relevant when attempting to promote a product. People can be easily deceived when psychological tactics are used to sell sell sell.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Yes. I can see what they are up to with ‘up to’.

Perhaps ‘up to here with it’ would reflect popular opinion of how many of us feel about the broadband providers.

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Member

Hi Malcolm, we try to cover the issue as clear as possible in a short space, but also so that it’s engaging to get as wide an audience as possible for these important issues. Our research resulted in newspaper front pages and lots of online coverage. We think change is needed and we’re highlighting the facts, based on in depth research, policy work and consumer surveys: http://www.staticwhich.co.uk/documents/pdf/broadband-advertising-not-up-to-speed-406472.pdf

I also thought it was worth mentioning that we work closely with companies and regulators, sharing our research and advising them on where we think they need to make changes. I’m sorry if it might look like we’re just knocking companies – we want to work with business to make them change for the better, to improve customers’ lives and ultimately their businesses. As an example we invited TalkTalk and OpenReach to our event with Ofcom. We have also had some positive industry responses to our calls: http://www.which.co.uk/campaigns/broadband-speed-service/Virgin-SSE-against-confusing-broadband-ads

I hope that goes some way to answering your concerns Malcolm.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

wavechange, having worked in research myself I am well aware of the importance of facts, and of presenting them in an objective way – not shaping them match preferred conclusions. However, I am not criticising “Conversations” – there we all have the opportunity to present information and opinions to allow others to draw conclusions. Here I am concerned with Campaigns aiming to garner support from Which? members; I received mine today by email asking me to “end confusing broadband ads” (ok) but introduced by the 15.4 million misled people claim. That is not objective, but manipulative, and factually untrue. I do not want Which? as an independent consumer organisation to follow the example you cite “as every politician knows – you will not achieve much if you try and take the middle road.”. They mislead us with economy of truth to achieve their dubious ends. It was hardly a good example to support the case.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Patrick, I agree with the broad aim, but am concerned when the tactics are dubious. There is a clear case here to amend the broadband ads without resorting to unsupportable facts.15.4 million people were not misled – perhaps you could have said “up to a shocking 15.4 million households aren’t getting the promised ‘up to’ broadband speeds they’re paying for. 🙂 and come down to the level of the worst.

Grabbing headlines is fine when you have a case that is clearcut, but like the EU fuel consumption headlines, you are misleading the public for cheap publicity.

You’ll be glad to hear that once again mrs r has made a cuppa and I’m going to relax……. until the next time. 🙂

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Patrick, just a quick question while the tea brews:
Which? say “A shocking 15.4 million households aren’t getting the promised ‘up to’ broadband speeds they’re paying for.”
What speed were these 15.4 million people “promised” exactly?
Or do you mean that 15.4 million people aren’t getting the maximum speed (the “up to speed) that many ISPs advertise.
There is a big difference
Sorry – I suppose that’s two questions and it’s now poured out..

Profile photo of Beryl
Member

Malcolm I think it means, quite simply, 15.4 million people were actually paying for more than they were actually receiving or, more importantly, thought they would get.

PS I hope Mrs r remembered to fill your cuppa ‘up to’ the top of your cup!

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Beryl, I don’t think it means that, or was meant to (IMO). We generally pay the same (for a given service) but get a speed that partly depends on our location in relation to the exchange. I think it was an ill-considered and incorrect introduction designed just to grab headlines.

Our cups hold up to half a pint but I don’t like it full to the brim in case a shaky hand spills it on the carpet.

Incidentally, as I seem to be in a grumpy mood today I quote “Which? analysis discovers energy bills have not kept in line with falling wholesale prices, costing consumers up to £2.9 billion over the last year – an equivalent of up to £145 per household on a standard tariff.” One Which? bad use of up to – is it £2.9 billion or not – and one good use – up to £145 depending no doubt what you’ve paid. One of our anti-up-tos posted this. Funny old world.

Anyway, as it’s late, mrs r has now made a hot chocolate. Hope it’s not too full. 🙂

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

As Patrick says, there is a lot of coverage of the broadband speed issue at present and a friend mentioned this yesterday evening. She went on to say that she was resigned to companies giving less than they promise and gave a couple of familiar examples that illustrated her contempt for dishonest marketing.

I have signed up to give my support to Which?, adding this note: ‘My broadband provider stopped using ‘up to’ claims a couple of years ago, but I’m supporting this campaign because others need to do the same.’

Member
Cascy says:
18 June 2015

I live in West London and have FTTC. When I signed up it was for a deal that was 80Mb download and 20 MB upload. I did check on the provider’s website and used the BT broadband checker site to see what I should actually get. They both said 60 MB down and 15 MB up, so I went ahead.

The actual speed I got was 42 MB down and 10 Up. When I queried this, the Openreach engineer who came said that it was the best I could ever get. When G.INP was initiated on my line recently the speed dropped to 35 MB download and 5 MB upload, less than half the package maximum.

On the radio today someone suggested that the fees should reflect the speed you actually get, which is an interesting idea. The real problem is with the infrastructure of copper (and even worse aluminium) lines running from the fibre cabinet to the house. I agree totally with NFH above.

Profile photo of NFH
Member

You’re absolutely right that charges should be based on speed. But this needs to start at the wholesale level. Openreach’s wholesale charges need to be proportionate to speed, which in turn will drive retail charges likewise to be proportionate to speed. Openreach has no financial incentive to increase speeds and it is inequitable that it receives the same revenue for a 1Mbps line as it does for a 8Mbps line.

Profile photo of TerryBevington
Member

To Mr West London you ain’t half lucky the sort of speeds you quote are to dream about if you were to live in the North West more than 5 miles from the exchange and 1/2 a mile from the magic Cabinet. We pay the same price I think
Tez

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Thanks for the analogy to ‘up to’ a pint of beer, Richard. If I’m not mistaken, a pub can legally short change you by 5% but no more. I like line-glasses where you get a full measure of the beer you have paid for, or a little more.

It’s time to get rid of ‘up to’ from all forms of advertising.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Totally agree. ‘From’ is another foxy word used in marketing telecom tariffs.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Do you mean ‘From only ££’ or have I missed something, John?

I wish that marketing people would not constantly claim or infer that their products and services are better than they are. After many years, I still feel that Gerald Ratner should have been given an award for honesty in marketing.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Yes, “From only £- – -“. I realise it is difficult to market products that come in a range of specifications at different price points but in too many cases the highest grade product is illustrated or described whereas the ‘from’ price refers only to the lowest grade. This is virtually ubiquitous, from sofas to holidays, but when ‘up to’ and ‘from’ appear together as seems often to be the case with telecom tariffs there is double jeopardy.

Profile photo of Loulou
Member

Another relevant note would be that AT&T just got fined $100m in America for slowing down speeds on purpose. Could this be a more widespread practice among broadband providers globally?

Member
wev says:
19 June 2015

ISPs always traffic manage and slow down some types of internet usage, like video and peer to peer.

Member
Harry's Boy says:
20 June 2015

I think the idea of paying for the speed you actually get is the correct way forward. Unfortunately that may mean that the people who get poor speeds (such as rural livers like me) will pay the same as at present, and the city dwellers with fast speeds will pay a lot more. At the end of the day, I think most people realise that it costs the providers more to run cable to a few houses many miles from an exchange, and that has to be paid for by those people – I don’t think it’s right that some consumers should subsidise others, at least not to a huge extent. It also doesn’t give the networks much incentive to speculatively run fast cables to said rural locations without commitment from those customers. I’ve looked at satellite broadband (maybe something for Which to investigate) but that is a lot more expensive and apparently has some downsides in terms of latency, etc. So I have no idea what the answer is, other than if the broadband speed is the most important thing, move to a better area, or accept that it’s not the most important thing in life.

Profile photo of Mykx
Member

Here in East Yorkshire it matters little how good or bad the Broadband Speed is , there is nothing that can be done . We can’t switch Landline Broadband providers , there is only one available and that is Kingston Communications operating as Karoo. There is a total monopoly here in roughly an area 200 sq miles . If you are dissatisfied with what ever KC decides to do then you can lump it is their attitude . Offcom mouth platitudes and do nothing , the monopoly commission of old couldn’t care less , the EU don’t give a damn and neither do our MP’s . We hear excuses constantly nothing changes . Most people are frustrated , competition is badly needed then we may get something like the service we pay for , regularly the speed stalls and broadband outages are common but you may as well shout at a wall , complaints are fruitless .

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

It’s interesting how things have changed in the East Riding. In the days when nationalised British Telecom had an almost nationwide monopoly, the municipal Kingston-upon-Hull telephone system was held up as a paragon of good service, economy, efficiency and progressive development!

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

For anyone who is unhappy about their broadband service, I wonder how practical it would be to ditch their service and move to mobile broadband. For years I have been using either a 3 MiFi wireless router or tethering to my phone when away from home. Now that 4G is available more widely and 4G routers are available, perhaps this would be a worthwhile alternative for those with slow broadband and a decent 4G service.

I expect that this would be an expensive option for many people, but some use their computers mainly for email and web browsing.

Profile photo of DerekP
Member

I doubt that you’d find 4G in an area with poor landline infrastructure – I would guess both of these investments are mostly made in populous areas.

I used phone tethering and mobile broadband for several months after moving house 3 years ago. It was OK for basic emailing and surfing but no use for media streaming.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I have no doubt that you are right that most areas with 4G coverage also have decent broadband via landlines but I have discovered a few with good 4G and poor landline broadband since I have owned a 4G phone. I was thinking about those who have modest demands such as accessing email and websites rather than streaming.

Member
Richard Buxton says:
24 June 2015

Broadband speeds are variable depending on the various things that might influence speed.

Time of day and the number of users competing for bandwidth – the type of connection – interference.

Our motorways have an upper speed limit of 70mph – but when it’s busy we go more slowly because of volume – sometimes we come to a dead stop. The internet is a bit like that.

Similarly to the motorway our internet connection will fly one minute and go into limbo the next.

An ISP would be foolish to sell on the basis of minimum speed because that’s 0 mb/s- so all they can do is to advertise the best you can ever hope to get – they know – and the buying public should be told – that it’s a rare thing to achieve top speed but…

We pay BT for 40 mb/s
Speedtest.net .tells me at 11 o’clock on a Wednesday that my wireless rate is an excellent 31.76
I connect with a cable and get an amazing 56.18 Mb/s.- that’s 77% faster with a wire connection.
And yet my computer is a mere 12 feet away from my wireless hub

And if I used – for instance – Talk Talk as my ISP the data traffic would flow along the same telephone wires to the same telephone exchange into the same data card.

I live in Reading – 20 years ago I was dialling in on a 110 baud modem – what I have now suits me fine.

Profile photo of mylor
Member

August 2014 I tried to help my elderly friend, who lives in a village 6m from Truro, to get broadband. She signed up with BT and we had trouble from day one. I couldn’t believe the appalling speed she was getting! B’S own speed checker showed it as 0.4Mb. Many checks were carried out and an Openreach techie visiting the site said there was no fault and that speed was about right for a 6w copper line. OK says my friend let’s try Infinity. No joy there either as, although her village has a Superfast cabinet there are only 280 ports available and all are taken. There are no plans to provide additional ports and, in the hope of picking up a cancellation, weekly checks still show no ports available. As this is an Openreach issue no broadband provider can do anything about it so our gripe is with Openreach, however Openreach’s customers are the broadband providers, not the end customer…………So who do we complain to?

Profile photo of mylor
Member

Further detail I forgot to mention. BT won’t give us a complaint number as ‘it isn’t their problem’. We can’t get one from Openreach as we aren’t their customer, BT are!

Don’t let Openreach off the hook. In rural areas especially it’s Openreach’s network that’s likely to be the primary cause of slow speeds.

Member
Lampman says:
25 June 2015

Broadband speed is in two parts, download, which is the one usually quoted, but there’s the upload speed too.
I live in an urban area but over 1.5 miles from the exchange and get 4.6Mb download but only 0.63 upload. These are adequate for my needs but I have complained when the upload speed dropped to about 0.2 (it has been as low as 0.03. Attempts to improve matters included a visit to test my line and a new router. I found that after a few days the upload speed dropped and could be restored by taking the power off the router and repowering it after a short interval. I have since replaced the router supplied by one of my own and have not had low upload speeds since.

Profile photo of TerryBevington
Member

I found your article on broadband speed tests quite interesting. I don’t know why you bothered doing all the tests that you did, because at the end of the day it all relies on the telephone line (wires) which in turn rely on BT now rebranded “Openreach”. ( Not “open” to scrutiny and reaches very little farther than it has reached in the past.)
The problem is that all the major players use BT Wholesale as their carrier and BT disguised as Openreach own the network. In the early days O2 had their own equipment in the BT exchanges and their product was somewhat faster than other providers. O2 sold out to Sky and all their excellent service died except for business Broadband ( via BT wholesale ) O2 complaints department was quite excellent and they needed to be as their speeds reduced by the day or even hourly especially if one lived more than 5 or 6 miles from the exchange in a more rural setting with new housing developments in between. Then came “supper speed” fibre optic cables ( trumpets sound ) the 21st century answer to all Broadband problems. Brilliant for those in the new developments between the exchange and the “Cabinet” where the fibre optic ended and the old Victorian wires now re-routed and reconnected in the Supper Speed Cabinet, began.
Any Broadband user more than half a mile from the Fibre Optic cabinet ( complete with poster proclaiming supper, mind bending, speeds ) could not notice much of a speed change, if any, especially if yet another housing estate nearer to the exchange became populated. The answer again lies with BT who need to extend there fibre optic cables whilst replacing the rural area copper cables many of which date back to the 50’s or even before and are not efficient. They don’t need to do that especially when the Broadband providers are there to take the rap. The next provider will advertise faster speed and take the disgruntled client form their previous provider and so it goes on.
BT will be the winner in the end as they hold all the aces, but they are a profit making organisation with more or less a monopoly.

Terry Bevington sent from my iPad

Member
Mike says:
23 July 2015

I think that your campaign against Broadband company advertising is misguided. It is a scientific / technical fact that broadband speed decreases as distance from the telephone exchange/fibre cabinet increases. This speed decrease is individual to each property and independent of broadband supplier. (Other than Virgin cable who have their own network with cable to each property). I would support a campaign to ensure that this be clearly stated in each advert, as should the fact that a reliable estimate for each property is available from a BT website.

The result of your proposal to force broadband suppliers to quote speeds available to 50% of their customers is that what you will end up comparing is the average distance of each broadband suppliers customers from their exchanges. Hardly a useful piece of information as a broadband supplier with a higher proportion of urban customers will appear better than one with a more urban / rural mix.

Where broadband suppliers differ is in the amount of data carrying capacity that they provide. Skimp on that and they can reduce the price to the customer, but with the result that the actual speed the customer gets will reduce as the lines become congested at peak times. Other broadband suppliers will provide a greater capacity so the speed reduction will be less, but will charge accordingly.

From the customers point of view it all depends on their requirements. If their broadband is mainly used for email, surfing the net, shopping , Facebook etc. then speed is not that important. If, on the other hand they want to stream films or live TV in the prime evening time then they may well have to pay more for an acceptable performance or even move to the faster fibre network.
So please concentrate on issues such as this which differentiate between suppliers and not on something which might mask the difference between them.

If you want to target misleading advertising, why not go after the Utility switching adverts….save up to £500 etc. This magnitude of saving is only achievable by a small minority of consumers moving from a coin operated meter to an online operated account and direct debit.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

It’s good to see constructive from Which? to help people with slow broadband. Just as useful (or maybe slightly better) than just criticising the providers?
http://blogs.which.co.uk/technology/broadband/top-five-reasons-your-internet-is-slow/?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=Member_Newsletter_080815

You may need to be a member to see this. Perhaps Which? could provide a link for non-members if so?

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Member

A small update for you. Culture minister Ed Vaizey has said that broadband speed advertising rules are a ‘complete and utter joke’: http://www.which.co.uk/campaigns/broadband-speed-service/advertising-ed-vaizey-asa/

Ed Vaizey told the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee:

‘It’s ridiculous. The idea that if you can deliver to 10% of houses the broadband speeds you are advertising on a large billboard and get away with it seems to be a complete and utter joke, and I have told that to [the ASA’s] face.’

‘It is good to have independent regulators. But I also feel as a politician and minister in this space I want to have the opportunity to express my frustrations. I am frustrated.

‘The way broadband speeds are advertised are misleading and I’d like to see them changed. I’ve made my views clear and the ASA will be aware of my concerns.’

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

If “politicians” see a problem then they have the power to try to change it. So instead of making remarks like this perhaps Ed Vaizey should actually do something about it.

He could, however, point out in the meantime that subscribers can get a check on the actual speed they should be receiving by asking their potential provider. But that would not make headlines, I suppose – too mundane (and practical).