The Which? campaign helped bring the issue of advertised broadband speeds to the ASA’s attention. Last week, guest Matt Warman MP led a Parliamentary debate calling for fairer advertising rules.
I don’t think that can be right – and neither, it would seem after a debate in Parliament, does anybody else in the House of Commons.
From the Digital Minister, Matt Hancock, to Labour and the SNP, there was universal agreement that at least a majority of people should get what it says on the tin.
In what other walk of life would it be acceptable to not get this?
However, the rules, in this case, are not set by Parliament.
It’s for advertising regulators to enforce rules, which they are currently consulting on changing.
Getting the message across
In calling this debate last week, I sought to let the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) hear loud and clear from all parties that MPs’ view – and those of many of our constituents – were clear.
In the same debate, I also made a second request, and again it was one with which nobody disagreed: if a broadband service is to be advertised as ‘fibre’, it should be full fibre, rather than a mix of super-fast fibre and super-slow copper.
I hope that this will not only make it clear to people what they are paying for, but, in the highly competitive world of broadband advertising, encourage companies to invest in rolling out the fibre networks that will really deliver the next generation of high-speed networks.
These networks are needed not only for shopping and to use the likes of iPlayer, but also for the next generation of connected cars and domestic appliances, dubbed the ‘internet of things’.
Changing the rules
The government has committed to a universal broadband service that will give everyone access to a minimum speed of 10Mbps by 2020.
This is a laudable aim, but it will be undermined if advertisers are still allowed to claim one thing and deliver another.
The ASA is currently consulting on changes to these rules.
I know Which? has been campaigning on this and, alongside its supporters, was instrumental in bringing the issue of advertised broadband speeds to the ASA’a attention.
To get your voice heard, either sign the Which? petition, write to your MP, or even the ASA itself.
The sooner the rules are changed, the better.
This is a guest contribution by Matt Warman, MP for Boston and Skegness. All views expressed here are his own, not necessarily those shared by Which?
Does your broadband run slower than the advertised speed? Is the proposed universal speed of 10Mbps enough?